Monday, June 30, 2008

Vox Culture Houston's Global Cafe

Mark your calendars, everyone. Our next Global Cafe will be on Sunday, August 3rd, from 2 to 6pm. We are hosting a cafe with live music, an artist gallery, coffee from "It's A Grind," a photo contest and a raffle for prizes.

Vox Culture Houston combines the voices of artists, musicians and entrepreneurs to speak up for for those who don't have a voice. Our Cafe in August will raise money to benefit World Vision's Relief work in China and Myanmar. We are also continuing our support of Floresta and their fight against rural poverty and deforestation.

So far we have musical guests Versecity, Cameron Blake and Ira Perez confirmed.

Place: Chateau Crystale, 2517 S. Gessner, 77063
Time: Sunday, Aug 3rd, 2-6PM

Reserve the date and spread the word! More info coming soon...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Seattle Sunday Night

It's 9:30pm, and I'm sitting outside our house in my pajamas. I'm drinking a nice Washington chardonnay and listening to Over the Rhine.

This is living.

I enjoyed worship this morning, leading music with Chad Gardner on drums, Ryan Ponten on electric guitar and John Platter on bass.

I'm reading blogs, answering emails, checking Facebook and working on a family website to be unveiled in the near future.

I'm laughing a lot at the Dove Lady. You have to read this awesome blog.

I'm missing some of my PCC friends terribly. You know who you are.

I'm reading Mark Driscoll's Confessions of a Reformission Rev.: Hard Lessons from an Emerging Missional Church. Mark is the controversial pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. (The "cussing pastor" from Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz!) It's funny, challenging, encouraging, scary and infuriating. I don't like everything the man says, I don't agree with all of his theological conclusions, but I respect his love for Jesus and his passion for partnering with God in redeeming the culture for Christ. It is making me so keenly aware of the awesome challenge of planting a new church in Houston in the fall. It's making me humbly hit my knees and cry out for God to lead Ted and me and Access and Vox as we venture forth... to do nothing less that transform the culture of Houston with the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ!

The wind is kicking up and lightning is starting to flash across the sky. It's going to rain soon, and Jacob is asking me to come in and read Harry Potter with him. More later.

Friday, June 27, 2008

WALL•E

A quick one today: Go see this film. It's magnificent. A science fiction masterpiece. I predict it will be nominated for, and perhaps even win, the Oscar for Best Picture.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

(Living in the) Parentheses

Two months ago today, our family drove away from the PCC parking lot - moving van stuffed to bursting, minivan following close behind. We hugged our friends and said goodbye and shed some tears. So much has happened. I can't believe it's only been two months.

And here we are in Washington.

I remember the spring of 2000, when I had already been called to PCC. I still had several months to live and work in Lancaster. I was a high school teacher, and I needed to honor my commitment to finish out the year. Every day was a challenge. I loved my job. I loved the kids. I believed in what I was doing... But my heart wasn't totally in it. I knew I was on my way out. I knew PCC, with all its promises of new and exciting community and ministry, was waiting... the Promised Land, shining on the horizon.

The remainder of my time in the desert was just that: time in the desert. Not wandering, exactly, but waiting, longing... I'm afraid I wasn't too attentive to my work. I wasn't as "tuned in" as I had been in the past. The rest of my time became nothing more than parentheses between two far more important phrases.

My question: How can I avoid that this summer? God has very clearly led Luanne and the kids and me here to Newport Covenant. No, we're not going to be here long... and I feel that. I have a terrible tendency to minimize life in the parentheses. But God lives here too. Sometimes the parenthetical details bring life to the story. They bring out the beautiful color or texture of the narrative God is writing.

This morning I woke up singing an old song. I can't imagine why, unless God brought the memory to me for a reason. Michele Pillar had a song back in the 80s called "Each Day He Gives Me," and the lyric that I can't get out of my head is this:

Each day He gives me can never be replaced
Each one can be a victory
Each day He gives me so much that I'm amazed
And I feel His love lead me all of my way
Each day...

Over a very cheesy synth-pop foundation, Michele sang some pretty simple but profound truth. Today matters. Today, this week, this summer - even this hour... can be lived fully for Him to accomplish His purposes in my life, in the life of the Newport Covenant family, and in the world.

I am so blessed. It's easy to see already what this summer is giving to me and my family:

First of all, rest. That's truly something we didn't see much of in Redwood City. Luanne was working three jobs and going to school while trying to be wife and mother and home manager. Our family was constantly busy, running like mad from activity to activity. School, gymnastics, soccer, karate, youth group, band, drum lessons, choir, Sunday worship, various groups...

These days stretch out lazily... Days last forever here; it's light until at least 9:30pm. We can find ourselves at the Lake Washington beach until 6:30 and then go, Wow... look at the time. Luanne read The Shack and then asked me what she should read next. Friends will know... Luanne doesn't have time to read. The kids play together for hours, building forts, playing "backyard baseball" - all four of them. I have only one or two evenings out per week. It's awesome. Sundays I lead one worship gathering at 9am, and then I enjoy worshipping in the congregation at 10:45. Then I'm done... with a whole day left to rest and enjoy my family!

Second, friends. We have already been embraced and welcomed so warmly. Brad Bergfalk is a great pastor with a real vision for what God can do at Newport, and I'm honored to be a little piece of helping that vision become reality. Plus, he's got great taste in music, movies and wine! Adam Anderson, the youth/young adults pastor, is a great friend already... He and his family have been amazing, hanging out with us, joining us for dinners and brunches, inviting us to their houses, catching movies... The worship gathering that Adam leads, Extol, really speaks to my soul. I'm grateful to be able to sit under his teaching and the great music by Chad Gardner and band.

Third, family. It's awesome to be living close to Luanne's family. We spent time with her Grandpa Paul and his wife, Olivia, last week. Luanne had lunch with her cousin Julie this week. When have we ever had this opportunity? Not to mention the time to be with my immediate family. Jake and I have been reading Harry Potter together for years, but we've never plowed through the books like this!

Now... What can God do through me for Newport? How can I be used? I believe that, ultimately, my role here is to pave the way... for a full-time, permanent worship pastor in the very near future. Simply by providing consistent leadership in the department and publically on Sunday mornings, by building relationships and listening to people, by appreciating what has been done here in the last several years without a worship pastor, I think I can grow an awareness and desire for someone to come and do what I am doing... except better, because he or she can stay and grow and build...

Yes, my call, my future is in Houston. I long to be there with Ted and the Access community. This summer will come to an end, but not today. Today I want to live in the moment and appreciate it for what it is... the good gift of God. Time and friends and family and ministry. There will be much craziness in the packing, the moving, the driving, the money, the new jobs and schools and on and on. A return to our crazy lives lurks just around the corner! So today, I will appreciate the parenthesis, the pause, the deep breath. I will thank God for it. I will be grateful to Newport for the amazing blessings they are pouring out on my family, and I will serve them with my best attention and love. I will love my family well. I will be awake to today's possibilities and promises.

Each day He gives me can never be replaced
Each one can be a victory
Each day He gives me so much that I'm amazed
And I feel His love lead me all of my way
Each day...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Nightingales = Texans

Here's the email we sent out last night:

Dear Ted, Dave & Access/Vox Lead Team,

Luanne and I sat with our kids this morning, and we talked about the journey God has had our family on. We remembered the night way back in January when we first told them that we would be leaving Peninsula Covenant. We knew God would lead, but we didn't know where God would lead. And now we do!

We're excited to say YES to your invitation to join you in Houston. After much thought and conversation and prayer... And after submitting this decision to many close friends and prayer partners... We know it's the right thing to do. We know there are challenges ahead, but we trust that our great God has started this thing and will give us everything that we need according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus!

We still have many questions, and we will definitely need your help in our transition. I'm sure we'll have many discussions in the upcoming months. Thank you for all you've done already, and we're excited to be with you in the fall.

With great anticipation...

Matt


Wow! We are moving to Houston! When Matt first mentioned this opportunity to me, I never thought it would really happen. I never imagined we would be a fit for Access. However, over the past several weeks, God has confirmed this call to us. As I have looked back on the many opportunities that Matt has pursued over the past months, this is the one that aligns with our heart's desire, and we are excited to join you.

There are many unknowns facing all of us as we transition to Houston, but I can say with confidence that I would rather experience the challenges of following where God is leading as opposed to staying where life is comfortable. I am looking forward to discovering what it means to serve through all the joys and trials of a church plant and growing through the process.

With great anticipation...

Luanne

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Big Decision Time

Newport Covenant is wonderful so far. I'm really enjoying my time with the staff, and I'll be leading worship for the first time this Sunday. The house we're living in is so nice, and we've been treated like royalty... We busted out the Nintendo Wii last night, and the kids have been in heaven ever since.

Would you please join Luanne and me as we pray about a big decision coming up? You walked with us as we decided to leave Redwood City and Peninsula Covenant, as we moved in with Luanne's folks in Simi Valley, as we moved here to the Seattle area for the summer, and as I visited churches in Boston and in Houston. Now we have an official invitation to join the Houston church plant. I wrote about my experiences at Access/Vox here.

Our hearts are definitely with Access, and we are very excited about this opportunity. We have had several excellent conversations with their leadership via iChat, phone calls and emails, and we believe we definitely fit in with them and their vision for life and ministry. Now we're faced with the decision to actually say YES or not. We have many questions, and to be honest, most of them have to do with finances. We are just weighing a lot of things... Does Luanne work? Where will we live? Is there any way we can buy a house? Do we take yet another "leap of faith" without knowing exactly how we'll make it there or is that foolish?

So there's a lot to pray and think about, as you can see. Thank you again for joining us in prayer and we welcome any insight or feedback you can give us!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Teenager

Joshua is thirteen. Happy birthday, my awesome firstborn son!

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