a good reason to plant a church

This past Sunday I found myself walking through the neighborhood of DOXA’s gathering roughly 15 minutes before people would show up to eat, praying that God would intervene. It was probably the biggest crisis I have faced as a young church planter. That day I woke up and put the finishing touches to what I thought was a great sermon. I then called a few people who had expressed great enthusiasm in the church plant. People who had made comments to my wife and I such as: “I can’t wait until you guys plant a church,” and “I will definitely be a part of what you do,” even more, “I think this is exactly what we are looking for,” and from this past fall, “Why can’t you start today?”. But Sunday marked fourth straight week of these people not calling me back. My anger began to grow. For years we have prayed for these people, and the lost people around them. We have had them in our living room, and heard their complaints about the church. How did my anger manifest? I wore a t-shirt instead of a collared button-up, and harbored resentment in my heart (I know, I’m such a bad-ass).

Well if this weren’t bad enough when I got to the house to set-up, my wife was nowhere to be found and unable to reach by phone, while the other person who helps set up was sick in bed. Now let me explain something about our set-up: I have no idea how to do it. So there I am at 5:30 (people come at 6) with my good buddy Derek cooking, and a pissed off demeanor that no one is coming, and a living room that has not been set up. The worst part: I desperately needed my wife. I needed her to give me a hug (no offense to Derek), I needed her to listen as I shared pastoral frustrations, I needed her to smile at me, pray for me, and really just be there. AND SHE WON’T ANSWER HER PHONE.

Then, the next day I got sick. From 3pm until the next morning I slept and laid around with my dog, while having a sore throat, a throbbing head, and a stomach that would tell me it was hungry one minute and that it wanted to throw up the next. When my wife got home at 8pm she dropped everything to help me. Normally when I am sick I just want to be left alone, which is the opposite of my wife who wants to be babied. She made me a bath, and as she was leaving to go do something I asked her where she was going. She responded that she was going to watch TV, and then asked if I wanted her to stay. YES, I WANTED HER TO STAY. I wanted her to be near me, to laugh when I make fun of myself for being sick, to smile at every word I say like she always does. I just wanted to be around my wife.

I tell those two stories about my wife to summarize what’s been going on in my life these past few weeks. I am simply wanting and needing my wife more than ever. When we used to work for Campus Crusade we would always lament that we were around each other too much, and needed a clear dichotomy between our work and personal lives. Now we have that, I find myself thinking about her all day, dreaming about simply snuggling on the couch and watching Best Week Ever, and coveting our Saturday morning walks together. Not only this, but I am so aware of how much I need her. No one believes in me like she does, and no one serves me like she does. No one knows how to gently tell me that I shouldn’t say or wear certain things, and no one’s words of affirmation mean as much. She has become much more precious, beautiful and wonderful to me since we have started this church plant. If that’s not reason enough to plant a church I don’t know what is.

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Fun Facts about James

Well since my obsession/paper has consumed (perfect tense) and is consuming (present tense) my life. I have nothing to blog about except the paper itself. My paper has become such the focal point of my exsistence that Crystal said as we went out on our Valentine’s date, “do not think about your paper or you will ruin our night.” Well I made it through the night without thinking about my paper, probably because my wife is so hot and is so much fun to be with. But that night I dreamt about it, I had little participles dancing through my mind and carried on a conversation with myself about the proper outline of 2:14-26. So it turns out seminary is not where you go for your faith to die, it is just where you go to become crazy. With all that said here are some fun facts I have been learning about James.

1. Most likely (and the position I argue in my paper) James is the first book written of the New Testament. This can be seen by the developing Christology, and the informal ways in which he references the sayings of Jesus. The book was probably written between 44 AD and 48AD, just before the Apostolic Council in Acts 15.

2. James was writing to Jewish-Christians who were day laborers and landless, much like many of the illegal immigrants of our day. This can be seen in his opening to encourage them to endure trials in Chapter 1. Then the rebuke of favoritism in 2:1-13, and the rebuke of people not sharing their stuff in 2:17. The book is also littered with OT references and leads us to believe the audience, which was the Diaspora had a Jewish upbringing and mindset.

3. James and Paul are not at odds. Alright I am going to get a little Catholic here. Since Luther decided to bag on James the church has been guilty of reading James in light of what Paul wrote in Romans 4, in reality though, James wrote first and it is better to read him in light of what Jesus said, especially Matt. 24-25.

4. James was a pastor. His letter is best classified as a “sermon letter.” And one can see that he probably wrote it to encourage and edify many of his Jerusalem flock who he could not get to. His heart is constantly for people to be “doers of the word” and to truly love Jesus.

5. James was killed in 62 AD by Annus II. Was suspected of being part of a possible uprising of the Jews against their Roman masters.

So there you go fun stuff about James.