To whom can we go?

Because of [Jesus’ words] many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

John 6:66-69.

If I keep going at this rate …

Previously on “Justin @The District Church”

  1. Washington, DC: Chapter 2 (October 11, 2010)
  2. Beginning November (and the Leadership Residency) (November 1, 2010)
  3. Why The District Church? (November 18, 2010)
  4. My First Sermon (December 15, 2010)
  5. What a difference a year makes (December 29, 2010)

Happy 2011! I hope your year has begun well and that, if you made them, your new year’s resolutions are still unbroken.

My year’s started, as the subject suggests, with a bang. For the last few weeks, life has been steaming along at a fairly breakneck pace and I’ve gotten pretty busy preparing to step into leading a small group (which starts officially next week), and get more involved with leading worship (this coming weekend) and preaching again (on the 30th). I’m also stepping up my involvement in neighborhood and community outreachcollege outreach, and Young Life at the local high school. In addition to that, we’re trying out a new online database to centralize planning for our Sunday services and I’m heading that up.

We also just got back from our first Leadership Community retreat, which took a fair bit of planning, but was a great success: from the vision-casting and the dreaming, the practical steps that we laid out, the ideas we threw out, the fun we had, the friends we made, the songs we sang, the prayers we prayed … so much goodness. And to have 30+ folks show up was an added encouragement.

As you can see, there’s a lot going on!

Prayers would be appreciated as:

  1. I try to survive the month of January (see all the above)!
  2. I keep up the fundraising efforts—I was aiming to have raised $20k by the end of January, but it looks like I may fall a little short of that mark. I’m at 53% though, so not too far short! I’ll also be (finally) starting to make calls to folks (and by “folks,” I mean you) to get connected with people they/you recommend.
  3. I start to look more seriously for a part-time job.
  4. I have somewhere to live! This past week, I’ve been house-sitting for a couple of friends, and then this coming weekend I’ll be moving into the spare room that one of my friends and his wife have in their house. It’s a great deal, and will serve as a home for at least a few months until the summer when other options may open up. So thanks for your prayers there.

A couple final things: first, we’ve started a sermon series going through the Gospel of John, and I strongly recommend you go listen to Aaron’s last couple of sermons (“Know Your Role” and “Adventures in Missing the Point”). Both really challenged me. And second, while we know that numbers aren’t the whole picture, I still think it was super encouraging that we had over 110 people in attendance this past Sunday! God’s definitely doing something exciting here.

Thanks for journeying with me,
Justin.

If you’d like to support me, you’re most welcome to do so via the church website. Please make sure to select “Leadership Residency” when it asks you to “Choose a Fund.” All gifts are fully tax-deductible.

Dealing with death

A friend’s sister was killed in a motorcycle accident on Friday. She was 29. It’s been tough on my friend, obviously; and on other friends of ours who were also close with her sister. It’s been tough in ways that can’t be remedied by a simple word or even a prayer. I mean, it’s not a situation that can be remedied. It just is. And it’s awful.

I believe that God is in it with us—and especially with those who were closest to her. But that doesn’t make it any less tragic. And I believe that she’s with God. But that doesn’t make it any less difficult to sit with. And I believe that Jesus won the victory over death, and that, in the words of Mumford & Sons, paraphrasing the prophet Isaiah and John the Apostle, “there will come a day, you’ll see, with no more tears.”

But even so, for now, we mourn.