Thursday, April 27, 2006

Sacred Space

How do you make life sacred? In talking with a group of friends Wednesday at Aroma's, the question came up, "Can you make someone go to church?" The question was asked by an older gentleman who works from the paradigm that everyone ought to go to church, and everyone knows that. I, however, work from the paradigm that I am a part of the church, and that I should "bring church" to them. So, with a bit of a lively discussion, my wheels got turning on a side thought. How did the Master Teacher bring the sacred to the secular (for lack of better terms)?
On one hand, it seems simple: we are spiritual people, so where we are is spiritual space. But that can also be said of followers of other religions. What makes the space we inhabit sacred, and not just spiritual? Leonard Sweet, in his book "Soul Salsa," has a great discussion on this. His first chapter is entitled "Mezuzah Your Universe: Soul Artists Sacramentalize Whatever They Touch." What a great tag! Understanding that a sacrament is a symbolic representation (i.e. baptism and communion), we begin to see that sacramentalizing things becomes an opportunity to bring symbolic meaning to the common things of life, like the Jews did with the phylactery and the mezuzah. They built reminders into their every day lives (rituals) to help grow their souls by modulating the mundane into the eternal.
Sweet draws out an important point in this discussion. This point communicates a great way for us to understand our lives as spiritual and sacred. There is a difference between a sacrament, and "sacramentals." In sacraments (again, baptism and communion), sanctifying grace is communicated by the act itself. For instance, baptism is a great picture of one thing: salvation. A sacramental, however, can be an everyday object or life that reveals "the 'signs of the Trinity' (Augustine), which are everywhere in creation when viewed through the eyes of faith." So, what do we do to celebrate and see these signs in our everyday life? How do we build into our everyday happenings rituals that remind us of the presence of the divine around us, and communicate the grace of the Trinity to those who are seeking? How do the patterns of my daily life reveal the grace of the cross to those who watch? Jesus did this in a masterful way. Not only did His life model it, but bread, water, wind, harvest, seeds, children, fire, weeds, leaven, wine (mundane, everyday things) became instrumental expressions to help people see the kingdom. My heart stirs as I wonder how to use my laptop, coffee, books, truck, wind, water, children, family, marriage, soccer, volleyball, clothing to express the simple truth of the kingdom. What a wonderful opportunity looms before modern Christ-followers. Perhaps, by way of comment, you might share some of the rituals you've built into your life as an expression of grace to the world around you.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Tonight I met the owner of all the Freebird's restaurants. His name is Pierre. Pierre is a super nice guy. What I really liked about him was he was genuinely interested in talking with me. Go figure: multi-millionaire with a grand opening in less that 24 hours, and he took time to sit down and ask me about me. It was nice. We talked a little while, and he mentioned that he'd like to visit The Journey at some point. I was encouraged! He just came out to check on us, ask if we had water for the night. He said he just wanted to make sure we had everything we needed. Way cool guy!
Now for why he is checking on us: Marcus, Scott, and I are in tents in front of Freebird's awaiting the grand opening. I got here at 2 p.m. today, and have met tons of cool people from the restaurant. I took a little break to be with my students at The Heights, and now we are sacked out to be the first customers at one of my favorite eateries! Did I mention they have wireless? Rock on!

Monday, April 17, 2006

What was it like?

I have been stewing over something for a couple of weeks now. It's about Lazarus.
In John 11, we find Christ performing the final miracle of His public ministry. This event profoundly impacted the culture of the day. But the thing that I've been chewing on is: what did Lazarus experience while being dead for 4 days? Was he sleeping? Was he in Paradise? Biblical scholars have held differing views on the state of death. My view on the moment of death is consistent with reformed theology. We leave this body to instantly enter the presence of Christ. No sleep state. No limbus patrum. This, I believe, is true for the Old Testament and New Testament faithful (OT examples: Enoch and Elijah). For more on this, check out Grudem's Systematic Theology, Ch. 41.
So, Lazarus, being dead for 4 days, enjoyed the unfettered presence of God. What must it have been like? And, what was it like to be yanked back to this world? Did he know he was coming back? Did he ask, as Clarke asserts, if he would have to die again? One thing is for certain: this event so changed him that he became a threat to the religious leaders of his day. In John 12:10 - 11 we find that the chief priests were plotting the death of Lazarus as well, because, "on account of him many Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him." A close friend once said, "Death is a life-changing experience." That was certainly the case for Lazarus, and I think is an important lesson for me: my death and new life should be a life-changing experience. It should be one that makes me dangerous to the enemy, the establishment, and the brokers of religion. Can't you just see Lazarus sitting with different groups of people in the bars or city places telling them with great fervor and urgency about what he had seen, and what waits for those who have trusted Christ? God, drive me with that same urgency and fervor, to share with those who need to know, what waits for them on the other side of the grave!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A Little Help Here

I'm designing a new business card, and thought I'd see if some of you would help me with the design. I've got some designs, and one that I like, but wanted to see what you guys thought. So, comment on which one you like the best. The resolution on them is not the greatest here, but you get the idea...You can also click here to see them on our web site.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Gift of Sleep

Do you remember when you were a kid and you could sleep anywhere and through anything? I am constantly reminded by my children of the greatness of childhood. This one was taken during our Spring Break ski trip. My children would wear themselves out playing (Jeremiah was skiing, and Cayla was living in a winter wonderland!). And, at the end of each day, as we made the drive back to the hotel, they would slip off to sleep, exhausted. I desire to live life that way. To live that 1 Cor. 10:31 life that says everything is for God's glory and deserves my all. Live every day in such a way that you've got an "empty tank" by the end of the day. Then, rest in Christ and allow Him to refuel you for the next day.

Well, I guess I slept pretty hard last Friday night, and missed my youth group on my lawn doing some decorating of their own:

Friday, April 07, 2006

Thank God for Great Friends!

Yesterday I had my 6 month evaluation. One of my partners that makes The Journey possible does an evaluation every 6 months. I am blessed to have a friend that does my eval. Terry Coy drove in yesterday to spend the afternoon with me, and to worship with The Journey last night at our gathering. I count Terry a great friend, and am really encouraged by the time that I spent with him.

Another friend that flew in yesterday morning is Stephen Hammond, one of the leaders from Mosaic in Arlington. He, too, is a great friend and source of encouragment to me. Stephen is one of those guys who "gets me." As we spend time together, I am encouraged and inspired in my walk and my pursuit of this dream I am a part of. He and Mosaic, along with Terry and his organization, have enabled me to do something that I absolutely love! I just dropped Stephen off at the airport, and I am not sure what to do next. I have so many ideas rolling in my head, and the future looks limitless! Here in the next couple of hours I will jump back into the mix and begin working on some new ideas, energized and encouraged for my journey.

Terry, Stephen,
Thanks for all you do for me, my family, and The Journey. You guys embody kingdom living, and are a source of encouragement and inspiriation to me. I am living the dream, and could not do it with out you.
For the kingdom - Jase

Woo Hoo!

Well, we've hit a milestone with The Journey's web site! As of this morning, we have had 1200 different IP addresses hit our site! I'm really excited about that. It's a morning of celebration for me. Check it out!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Friends, Dinner, and Theology

Last night was a great night in the life of The Journey. Every month we have a meal to just enjoy the company of new friends. Including the kiddos, we had our largest crowd ever with 19 in attendance last night. This is significant to me not because of the number per se, but that we are really getting to make new friends. Dinner was good, but the way folks lingered afterward to sit, drink coffee, and just share life was a sweet time. For all of you who attended last night, thanks. I really enjoyed the conversations!

In the aftermath of cleaning up, Nathan and I had a chance to sit down and talk theology for a little while as he prepared to speak at a sister church in our community. He's excited to get to share much of what God has been teaching him. As we talked, we got to discussing Hebrews 12:2 and what exactly the "joy" was that led Jesus to enduring the cross. The salvation of humanity? The defeat of Satan? The resurrection? Maybe even the Ascencion? Indirectly, yes, as they are all part of the will of God. Jesus told His disciples in John 4 that His food was to do the will of the one who sent Him, and to finish His work. I think, ultimately, the joy that was set before Jesus was that He could look up from the Cross and say, "It is finished." He had completed what God sent Him here to do. The Christ's goal all along was to do the will of His Father, no matter what the cost. Man, what a moment that must have been, in spite of the pain, to look to the Heavens and KNOW that God's greatest plan had come to pass. That's been on my mind since last night, and will be the theme of my Easter season. Hopefully, it will be the theme of my life.