LIFE Nuggets

The purpose of this blog is Essentially to Chronicle our personal faith journey and that of a place that we call LIFE House West. Why Life Nuggets? Because Nuggets bring to mind a sense of fun and enjoyment, show me a child who is sad when they get to eat chicken nuggets..... Things like life, and following Jesus should be fun and we want to explore those things in a light hearted and fun way, so please, enjoy...

Location: Hagerstown, Maryland, United States

30 years old, married, Father of four children (2 boys, 2 girls) 2 cats and 3 dogs (black lab, english bulldog, and pug)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Imitation of Christ

Greetings once again to all the people out in cyberspace. That sounds cheesy but I am in a good mood and feeling reenergized after some rest from our week of work at the cold weather shelter. Looking back, that was a great week of serving. It is now something that is on the LIFEhouse west calander that we are going to do one evening per month. It is just one of the ways that as a group we can demonstrate the love of Jesus by simply giving the Kingdom of God away to someone else.

That being said, I want to move on to other things. I have begun reading a book by Thomas a Kempis entitled "The Imitation of Christ." Just in the title there is enough for me to preach but I think that it does bear some commentary. The title captures another of the values that I want to be plainly evident in LIFEhouse West......

To be honest though, this one is a hard one because it is personal. It begins with me. It is my duty to imitate Christ in all that I do. To be gut level honest, I do not hit a home run on this one every day. I don't know anybody who does. What I can say is that I feel a strong burden to live this out, not for anyone else, but for me. This is why this one is hard; one, because I can be my own worst enemy sometimes. Two. because it is my opinion that everyone must do this for themselves.

I feel strongly that the question of whether or not we imitate Christ is one of the fundamental things that we as individual followers of Jesus must deal with on a daily basis. I feel that we do this by:
1. Asking ourselves, and being honest, if we are actually committed to living out the revolution of Jesus in our lives. Does this idea come into our minds at all during our day? Are we conscious of our role in the revolution?
2. Are we striving to do it? Not are "we perfect at it", but "we are striving to live like Jesus." are we taking steps to do that? Are we ready and active in developing the characteristics of Jesus in our lives? It there improvement? Can we, and others, see a difference in our lives?

The differences do not need ot be huge, although there are times when they will be, just that we see a difference. Before we do anything we must "own the revolution" personally. I am working at it and I trust that you are as well.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Live on Location

Hello everyone out there! For the first time I am blogging on location at LIFEhouse West. Many thanks to my man Jeff for getting the wireless internet up and running. Construction on the building is proceeding at planned.

There are continuing to be changes to the building. Last week we "re engineered" the pews that we could not give away. After some personal time with a sledge hammer and a chain saw they have been taken care of and have been offered up to the Lord as a burnt offering...... The family room is nearly ready for painting, it is being primered so that and carpeting will begin soon. Finally we have some of the heat registers back up so we can warm the place up a little. I will have pictures soon.

In a way this week is kind of bittersweet. As many know I am heading up Bethel Assembly's (our mother church) week of volunteering at the local cold weather shelter here in Hagerstown. This is my last official project with them in what was my role as "Community Connections" pastor. As I am writing we are mid way through the week. I have considered this week kind of like a wake of sorts. It is a long funeral for my old role and the responsibilities that went with it.

So far this week there have not been many incidents among the folks that stay at the shelter. What I have noticed is this. The great people who have been willing to come and serve the homeless confirm one of the bedrock ideal that I hold as lead pastor here at LHW.

That is service. Not services, they come later. What I am talking about is the willingness to go and give a little bit of the Kingdom of God away to someone else who needs it. As the coordinator at the shelter for the week I get to walk around, supervise, and tell people what to do. While that is fun, I also get to watch......

I have watched people who are outside their comfort zone by just being in the shelter moved by compassion. Seeing them sitting with residents and talking with them. Laughing, joking, enjoying the Cowboys big win over the Colts on Sunday! I ahve not seen one time any type of class separation, just people relating to other people. There is something powerful in that. something God inspired. It is so simple, yet the idea of relating to others and serving them escapes us so easily. We get consumed with so many other things that keep us from connecting with the world that God wants us to reach.

So in short, for all the folks who are on this journey with me, we will be serving others. It is at the core of who we are and we want to model servanthood at every opportunity. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.


Friday, November 10, 2006

For Those Who May Wonder...

Upon reading some comments on the blog, I want to take some time to expound upon what I keep referring to as "the journey." I guess that the term comes from what I am coming to believe about what I think it means to be a "Christian." To be candid, that term has lost a great deal of meaning that it used to have. It means "little Christs" and I am of the opinion that while that may be the rendering of the definition of the word, some who use the word to describe themselves do not fit the definition.

That being said, I would rather be called a follower of Jesus Christ. I think that it fits with what I feel being a "Christian" is about. Hebrews 11:13 brings up the idea that we are foreigners here on this Earth. While I do not want to get weird here, I think that simply by throwing the word Christian around, we tend to forget that there is something mysterious and other worldly about saying that we follow a carpenter from Nazareth who claimed to be God, and whom we believe was raised from the dead.

Think of the idea that we are "following" Jesus. If we are following him, that means, at least to me, that we are going somewhere, to where he is. It is one of the reasons that I believe that all our lives as like a journey. We are going somewhere, moving toward something. What has been the interesting challenge is that this church plant that we call "LIFEhouse West" is part of my journey. Long before we arrived at where we are now, God put the dream in my heart as I walked along on my journey of following him. It has been a very personal thing. Now there are others who have come along on the journey that I find myself on. As frightening as it may sound sometimes, they are following me as I am following Christ. We are now on this journey together.

I am convinced that LIFEhouse West is not a building, it is part of a movement, a journey, that God willing, will bring many others on the journey as well, which we trust will, in the end, bring us into the presence of God for eternity. I hope that for anyone who is wondering, this brings some clarificaiton. Lets all enjoy the journey together.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

An Update

Hello all! I wanted to update you on some things that have happened in the past few days. First and most impotantly, Contact has been established with Western Heights Middle School. We are looking to cooperate with them and help out with the Kids in any way that we can manage.

It is critical that we connect and begin to actually make a difference in the community that we are in, to do things that people can see and understand. I believe that seeing is believing. This cannot be just about talk, but about results, fruit if you will. So as you read this update, pray that we can connect and reach some of these children personally and spiritually.

Second, the upstairs of the building is ready for flooring so the painting process must begin in earnest so that we can get this project rolling. Thanks for everyone's help.



Friday, November 03, 2006

A Personal Gospel

Hello everyone!! Now that we are officially moving into a time when the core team that is taking this journey with me is beginning to develop, I wanted to start adding some substance to the discussion of this blog. I think that we should start with what I think is an important point that begins with a story......

I was in Borders with some friends one evening when we were confronted by two people who really did not have anything nice to say about people who follow Jesus, or anybody who is part of some type of organized religion for that matter, but mostly just followers of Jesus. One of them made a statement that I think is vital. She said that the problem is that the Gospel of Jesus is too personal.....

That is an important point. Our Gospel is personal. Have you ever stopped and thought of the implications of that? John 1:14 says that the word came and dwelt among us. Jesus walked through this world and suddenly, God got very personal. Granted, the Bible is filled with accounts of God getting personal with people. But has anyone ever stopped to think of the implications of that personal encounter that we call in church speak "the Incarnation"?

Did Jesus ever have bad breath? How about body odor? Did he ever burn a meal?

Did he ever pull a practical joke on one of the disciples?

If Jesus ever took time to daydream, what would he have thought about?

These things might sound kind of strange, they may even make us uncomfortable because we like to keep Jesus distant. We are not cool with the divinity thing, but sometimes we lose the humanity side. We forget that the God we serve, sent his son to live like us. Granted, Jesus was without sin, so let's not forget that, however, he lived like us. Think about your life, the details of it that get lost in actually living. The wonderful complexity of the human body and mind, the details of human relationships, the grandure of creation. All the things that we do not pay attention to because we are too busy to stop and notice. I think that Jesus understood these things better than anyone. Yes because he created them, but also because of something more...

In light of these kinds of thoughts, I like to think that long before Jesus ever taught people anything, performed a public miracle, had disciples, or went to the cross, he livedthe Gospel.
Today, we are no different. long before we ever go public with our faith, it must become a personal thing. Carrying the message of Jesus, and according to the Bible, having Jesus in us (Revelation 3:20), it should alter the sum of all that we are. The details of our lives should start to change, so as we begin this process, let the Gospel be personal and live it. Enjoy the Journey.....