Jeremiah 31.31-34

Jeremiah 31.31-34

This coming Sunday we will be gathering for worship at 9am on “The Barge”.  We will be focusing our time on Jeremiah 31.31-34.  This passage is part of a book that was written to the exiles in Babylon (Jeremiah 30.2), that was meant to be a book of comfort to those in the diaspora.  That is why the Lord tells them that there will be a new covenant and it will be written on their hearts.  It will be a covenant based on their relationship with God, where each and every person will know they Lord.  Let us gather together and learn more about this covenant being written on...
Jeremiah 31.7-14

Jeremiah 31.7-14

This coming Sunday we will be gathering for worship on “The Barge” at 9am.  We will be focusing on Jeremiah 31.7-14.  In this passage we are continuing the “Letter of Encouragement” that began back in chapter 30.  The Lord says that the scattering of Israel was his prerogative, but now the gathering of Israel is also part of his plan.  As Israel is gathered, God will be to them like a shepherd is to the sheep.  God will lead them beside the waters and their path shall be straight.  Let’s gather and hear more about God’s desire to scatter and then...
My first few days

My first few days

I called my mom on my way to my second day of work at The Anchor. I could hear her curiosity seeping through the phone as she asked me about what I did on my first day. I could barely find the words or come up with some sort of explanation of what I experienced so I simply told her what I did…. I spent the morning and some of the afternoon hanging out with homeless folks and learning about their stories–where they were from, how long they’ve been in Wilmington, about their families, etc. Later on in the afternoon, I had the chance to hang out with Philip and his family at the home of Burmese refugees to celebrate the first birthday of their child. That evening, I participated in the missional community, Bridge Night, at Solomon Towers–a public housing facility for the elderly and disabled. I explained to my mom, that on my first day, I had dipped my toes in so many different pools of people that I rarely came in contact with. You see, I’ve grown up in a middle-class, suburban household. I have been blessed with an extremely supportive family, encouraging mentors and friends, a roof over my head, and food always available in the pantry. Sure, I’ve gotten to attend several mission trips and seen poverty and pain. But those things were temporary: daily or weekly events. To be honest, I spend the majority of my time in the library and classrooms of Duke Divinity School–a bubble of a bunch of students studying theology. The hours of my day are dedicated to writing papers, reading...
Did you lack anything?

Did you lack anything?

Last week in the blog post titled “He began to be in need” we took a look at Luke 15.11-32 and how the youngest son squandered everything he had and began to be in need.  While considering this phrase I decided to look at other places this phrase could be found in the Gospel of Luke.  In the original language of the New Testament the Greek word for “to be in need” is ὑστερέω.  Interestingly, ὑστερέω is only found in one other place in the Gospel of Luke — you can find it in Luke 22.35.  In this passage Jesus is reflecting with his disciples how he had sent them out two-by-two into the surrounding towns and villages that he was going to go to eventually.  They were sent as representatives of him and they were commissioned for a particular work. While Jesus was reflecting with his disciples about how they had been sent out he asked them in Luke 22.35: “‘When I sent you out without a purse, bag, or sandals, did you lack anything?’ They said, ‘No, not a thing.'”  Why didn’t they have any need?  They should of been in need.  Jesus sent them to these towns and villages without food, money, a bag, and without shoes.  What makes them answer Jesus’ reflective questions with a definitive “no”?    I have been considering the juxtaposition of these two ways of looking at need that we find with the story of the prodigal son and the sending forth of the seventy disciples.  In Luke 15.11-32 the youngest son leaves his family with his half of the inheritance, whereas the...
Jeremiah 31.1-6

Jeremiah 31.1-6

This coming Sunday we will be gathering for worship on “The Barge” at 9am.  We will be focusing on Jeremiah 31.1-6.  In this passage we will be focusing on verse 2: “The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the Lord appeared to him from far away.”  The wilderness is one of God’s favorite areas to share of this amazing grace.  The wilderness can be a place of confusion, transition, and growth.  For the Israelites, the wilderness was an invitation to journey to the promised land.  It never was a fast journey, but it was a journey that was filled with grace.  Let’s gather together and learn more about the grace that is found in the...
He Began To Be In Need

He Began To Be In Need

In the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15.11-32) we are introduced to a family that has a father and two sons.  The youngest son asked his father for his half of the inheritance.  Interestingly, the father gave the son what he asked.  Soon after that the youngest son decided to leave everything behind and travel.  He never asked for advice on where to go, instead he chose to leave by himself and leave everything that he knew behind (except of course the money). While in this distant country he began to spend all of the inheritance that had been trusted to him.  He made decisions that were based on lust and desire, and those decisions were a lot of fun at times and those decisions also brought him into a very dark place.  The youngest son squandered his inheritance on shallow relationships and on things that did not last.  And then disaster struck ….. there was a famine in the land which caused an economic collapse. After spending everything that he had he found that those relationships and friendships were so shallow because they were only based on the amount of money he was willing to spend.  In verse 14 it says that “he began to be in need”.  And then in verse 16 it says: “and no one gave him anything”.  All of those shallow relationships ended up turning a blind eye to the man who had squandered everything.  Even in the midst of an economic collapse, they still did not help him.  So, the youngest son had to do the one thing that was a devastating...
Jeremiah 30.1-24

Jeremiah 30.1-24

This coming Sunday we will be gathering for worship at 9am on “The Barge”.  We will be focusing our time on Jeremiah 30.1-24.  In this passage we learn that the God we serve is a God of restoration.  God says in verse 17: “For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, says the Lord, because they have called you and outcast: ‘It is Zion; no one cares for her!'”  Even though the Jewish people were in captivity in Babylon, God was at work restoring the people.  Restoring their status, healing their wounds, and providing healthy living.  Let us gather together and hear more about this holistic way of looking at...
Reflections about my time at Mepkin Abbey – Acknowledging Reality

Reflections about my time at Mepkin Abbey – Acknowledging Reality

Anyone that knows me knows that I emphasize relationships and how our calling as disciples of Jesus Christ is to live life on life with each other.  Recently I have been spending an inordinate amount of time considering my relationships with people that I do life with.  I have found that in this transient space called Wilmington, we see that relationships come and start quickly at times and end quickly at times.  I have promised myself that I will not be a person that becomes cold and indifferent to new relationships because of the transient nature of Wilmington.  So I have invested myself into relationships so as to live as disciples of Jesus Christ. While at Mepkin Abbey recently, I had in my mind this notion that relationships end and that relationships begin.  Because of this time of contemplation I began thinking about how this was the experience of the father in Luke 15.11-32.  In this passage we are introduced to the youngest son that left his father.  The youngest son decided to go and travel to a distant country and squander the inheritance that his father gave to him.  When the father reflected on what happened to their relationship he said in Luke 15.24 that this son of his was dead. No one wants to welcome the death of a relationship, and I am positive that the father spent a great deal of energy trying to convince the youngest son to not go and squander all of his inheritance; nevertheless the son still did that.  This notion of voicing that the relationship was dead is acknowledging what is...
Jeremiah 29.1-9

Jeremiah 29.1-9

We will be gathering for worship this Sunday at 9am on “The Barge”. We will be focusing our time on Jeremiah 29.1-9.  In this passage Jeremiah writes a letter to the Jewish exiles in Babylon.  He tells them that they are to make themselves at home in the land.  They are to see the welfare of the city and to pray for the Lord to bless the city of Babylon.  This flies in the face of many of the prophets at that time. You are invited to come and learn more about being a blessing to our city, even when the city doesn’t line up with how we understand...
Mepkin Abbey

Mepkin Abbey

I have just come home from 5 days being at Mepkin Abbey.  You can see a picture of some of the Monks that I was able to pray with this week.  This has been an invigorating experience where I was able to practice waking up every morning for prayer at 3am, and then conclude every day with our prayers ending at 8pm.  We prayed together seven times a day and gathered for silent meals three times a day.  Prayer defined how I understood my time at Mepkin Abbey which was rejuvenating and created space for reflection & rest. I went with a few questions and with an earnest desire to experience God’s grace through reconciliation and meditation.  I was able to spend time with the Abbot and reflected on the mission of The Anchor.  His insights into our mission in regards to vulnerability was encouraging and uplifting.  I believe that the relationships that we garner at The Anchor are our defining characteristic as a missional outpost here in the city of Wilmington.  I believe that we are to welcome people into our midst so that we might serve beside each other and proclaim peace to our city. We at The Anchor have made a conscious and intentional decision to not focus on buildings, land, and money —— but instead we have decided to take the seed of our faith and invest it into each other.  We have learned that this is church.  Church is not a building, land, or money —— instead church is defined as sisters & brothers who have been sent by Christ and commissioned to proclaim...