Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Since stepping out of the pastorate and into a more "boots on the ground" ministry earlier this year, Carla and I have been searching for a church.  Our desire was to find a church in our community that really represented us and our neighbors.  We wanted to find a church that was alive and where people were real.  We wanted to find a church where we were challenged to grow and serve in crazy new ways.  We wanted to find a church where people were friendly to outsiders and to one another.   We wanted to find a church where Sunday morning was a time to honor God and a springboard to a life of service and ministry.  We wanted to find a church where people shared life with each other and with a lost and hurting world.  We wanted to find a church that was diverse...ethnically, socially, economically, generationally...because that is the reality of our Brighton Heights neighborhood.   We wanted to find a church where the lost, hurting, and dying were finding a truly new and incredible life in Jesus Christ.  We wanted to find a church where the worship wasn't perfected by practice, but practiced as an offering to God, and therefore perfect in His sight.  We wanted to find a church that understands the Kingdom and is living as a true light in the community.  We wanted to find a church where the preaching was inspired before being inspiring and where the message was captivating because it was truth.  We wanted to find a church that gave sacrificially to see the Kingdom come at home and around the world.  Quite simply, we wanted to find the perfect church!!!!

So we visited churches...many of them.  We visited some that were very close to our house and some that were not.  We visited churches that were big and some that were small.  We visited churches that were affiliated with a denomination and some that were as independent as they come.  In our search, we had some pretty humorous experiences (remind me to tell you of the church with the marble communion table with the chiseled inscription "Come Unto Me" and a fence all around it....I swear I'm not making this up!) and some that were just downright discouraging.  Some churches we went back to a few times and some we walked out of before the service even ended.   Some churches we really liked but weren't close or there were other minor reasons.

But finally, I think we've settled into a church home.  Indeed, the characteristics that we searched for and that I listed in the first paragraph really seem to exist in this little church in Brighton Heights.  It is called Hosanna, and we are loving it.  Hosanna is an expression of praise (and originally meant "Lord, save us") and we feel like it lives into both of those meanings.  It is not a perfect church (and if it was, it isn't now 'cause I'm there!!!), but it is the perfect church for us.  We walk there holding hands together, get to worship together side by side, and get to walk home hand in hand with a stopover for an awesome Panini at the Brighton Cafe.

Thank you Lord for leading us to the Northside of Pittsburgh.  Thank you for a beautiful home of our dreams in a great neighborhood.  Thanks for a great ministry opportunity at The Pittsburgh Project.  And thank you for our wonderful new church home.  May these things continue to come together so that our lives and every aspect of them can be an offering to you!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Peace, bro.

So on my way home from The Pittsburgh Project today, I stopped off at the local thrift store.  Now it's called the Red, White, and Blue Thrift store on Ohio River Boulevard but my neighbor calls it "The Boutique on the Boulevard."  Sounds much classier that way!

Anywho, in the midst of my buying two long sleeve t-shirts and a vase for our hall tree (all for $5!), a guy who I'll call "Dan" starts talking to me.  (I'll call him Dan because he said "Hey...what's your name?  My name is Dan."  He said to me "Wow, you keep it up, bro."  I said "keep what up?"  And that's when the conversation started.

He told me that it looked like I was a man at peace.  He said that so many people are running around in this world all bothered by the stuff life throws at us and he could tell by my face that I was living a life of peace.  He said he thought I had figured out a way to not let the stresses of the world get me down.

Well, I hope he's right.  I mean walking a life of faith in Jesus has really changed my heart.  The things I once worried about I find I worry about less.   The more I surrender to Him and keep my heart focused on Him and His purpose for me, the less I find that I'm stressin' about the stuff.  You know, the stuff?

So thank God for the peace.  It sure does pass my understanding.  And I hope not only my new friend Dan but others can see the peace on my face...'cause it sure is in my heart!