Monthly Archives: February 2008

church plant gathering

It’s here.  Finally. 

On Sunday, March 9th, from 5-7pm, we will hold our initial west valley church plant meeting at Mas Cafe in Emmaus PA.  This gathering will be for the sake of burden inculcation and kingdom anticipation in the West Valley through a PCA church plant.  We will not be vision casting or planning… but rather discussing the unique needs of our demographics in the East Penn area of the Lehigh Valley.  What are the needs?  What are our responsibilities before God if we would be his church in our target area?  Who should be involved?  How will things unfold in the next 6 months?  What is it to be a church plant that is wide open for the sake of kingdom and gospel ministry among our neighborhoods and communities?  Why is there a need for a church plant? 

Ray and his wife Courtney, owners of the new Mas Cafe, will be providing a full slate of coffees and cappacinos – in addition to snacks.  Childcare will be a block away at the Powell home where we will have a handful of college/career age adults watching our children during our gathering.  If you know you and your kids will be joining us, it would help if you would leave a comment or let me know.

If you are curious as to the nature of the church plant, the needs of Emmaus/Lowermac, or the sacrifice involved for those God will call to be ‘church planters’ – then join us!  Will you consider DOING KINGDOM and planting a church that will be for the renewal of the West Valley (west side of the Lehigh Valley) – for the renewal of our broken, sinful hearts – for the renewal of our families and neighbors – for the renewal of our secular culture and its comprehensive need for mercy and worldview transformation through Christ and his BIG gospel!

Mas Cafe

332 Main Street, Emmaus

Sunday, March 9

5-7pm

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less blogs about weakness

Less blogs are flowing from the weakchristian.  Reason: weakness.

Actually, I have been thinking a lot lately about what it is to be weak.  I have discovered some real weakness in myself (the kind that sends you “reeling” and not so interested in writing).  I have been feeling the wounds of others that have stunned the senses into silence and meditation… taking words out of my mouth rather than putting words in.  

All this is to say that I am stilled for weakness sake.  I have less impulse to have to catalogue “me” and my different angled-ness.  I am free to be quiet and ponder.  (Most of you are thinking, thank God.)  But seriously, I almost feel like I spent six months creating a blog identity – the “weakchristian” who ravished the biblical/grace-centered concept of engaging weakness to discover gospel-strength… but NOW, things have flipped.  I am discovering weakness and beginning to engage the grace and strength of Christ.  I like it better this way.  Thanks be to God.

Shh… no comments please.

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the zeal of the Lord ALONE will do this

We are back from the PCA Church Planting Assessment Center.  Words cannot encapsulate the experience.  It was the most gruelling, honest, beautiful, unifying (Kori and me), enjoyable, corporate (new friends) and mexican (nice restaurant across the street) week I can remember.  I heard the Word declared with particular application to a person like me. 

Kori and I then went to a Bed and Breakfast in PA (Glasbern, Fogelsville PA) for processing and cool white robes – sorry, had to say that.  This was my assessment of our experience at Assessment:

I was found out.  Kori was found.  Both of us are now driven to the gospel in new ways AS ONE COUPLE.

Anyway, one thing I will share (most of our experience I will not): I am zealous.  Excessively.  Apparently my zeal can be of good kingdom use, but it can also have its people-effect that is less than desirable.  I see it now.  This morning, I was reading from Isaiah 37, and I came across a powerful statement that I have read thousands of times in the prophetic books. 

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this (37:32)

I read it.  Then again.  Again.  The assessed-self was seeing something powerfully apropos.  Ministry is about the Lord’s zeal, not my zeal.  In my zeal I am either winsomely “effective” (at best), OR deceptively manipulative (at worst).  Because of that, my zeal is NOT the means by which I hope the Lord will do this church plant or any other ministry.  Rather, there will be a church in the West Valley of the Lehigh Valley ONLY if the zeal of the Lord does this.  

Why was the recognition of my zeal such a focus of assessment?  Partly because I was blind to it.  Partly because it affects people in ways I don’t intend.  But mostly, I think I see the reason in Isaiah 37:32 – my zeal is NOT the zeal by which kingdom things will be accomplished.  No, only the zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish his purposes in my home, my life, the church plant or any other locus of his work.

O God, even now I am excited because this makes so much sense and will have its impact…  but may my excitement be about YOUR safe/powerful ZEAL, and not my own.  I can control my zeal about as much as my son (18mo) can control himself when he sees food he wants.  This HAS to be about something BIGGER than my zeal.  And it is.

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Cornerstone PCA website

Thanks be to God, Cornerstone’s new website – www.cornerstonepca.net – is up and at’em.  There will be glitches here and there as we get things going, but I need to give my high praise and thanks to the ministry-minded CMS that we are using, ekklesia360 out of San Diego (they also do monk development). 

The back end is easier than ever to upload and manage content.  The member pages are like a virtual myspace or facebook component… and the forums and blogs will hopefully be a means of gospel-centered community for our people.

Check it out… and let me know if/where you might have issues.  There will certainly be some in this early phase.

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It’s official

In case no one else officially says it.  And presuming that anything that is in print is in some sense official.  And because in my blogging I must acknowledge my feelings that I can ascribe to convictions.  And because I don’t want to write anymore sentences that start with “And.”  Let it officially be said:

“Bill Belichick should not have walked off the field before it was over.”

I feel better now.

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my life on paper

One week from this Sunday, Kori and I will be flying to Atlanta for the PCA Church Planter Assessment Center.  Our marriage, sense of call, giftedness, and contextual placement (i.e. in the North East) will be assessed and reassessed.  They tell me it is like marriage counseling on steroids. 

Here’s the thing – we’ve already been assessed just to be accepted at the Assessment Center.  I haven’t liked what I’ve learned.  It is actually quite funny: my life and personality don’t translate that well on paper.  We have each filled out questionaires and personality tests (which will be interpreted for us on site).  We received most of the results already, so that we might digest who we are on paper before we show up and discover who we are in person

My wife is incredible… especially on paper.  She received a personality report that sounded like this: “Quiet and discerning.  Not needing to be the center of attention.  Likely to enter a room and recognize people and needs.  Unlikely to talk about herself before inquiring of others.”  It went something like that.  If you know Kori – that is right on.

I am not so incredible, especially on paper.  My personality report sounded like this: “Energetic and strong in personality.  May prefer to be the center of attention.   Likely to enter a room desirous of sharing about himself before inquiring about others.  Willing to persuade people that they might follow.  May unintentionally offend others or step on toes as he engages in conversation.  Prefers to lead independently.”  OK, so maybe it wasn’t that bad – but it is no overstatement that I now have documented proof that I married way over my head.

It is sobering to read an accurate assessment of yourself in ink that cannot be erased.  Maybe the qualities I read are normal/good for a leader, but it’s still sobering. 

To be honest, I am used to reading an accurate self-assessment.  Every time I read God’s Word it happens with acute clarity.  I am a sinner.  I am desperately wicked.  I am gloriously redeemed.  I am weak enough to need a Savior every moment for every breath throughout every day.  Sobering but beautiful. 

So I guess I am saying that I enjoy and presently prefer sober assessments, because in the newfound awareness I find myself thanking God all the more that he would give the grace of salvation and ministry (and a woman with the personality of Kori) to someone like me, even me.

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