It’s Not a Real Problem Until it is Our Problem

It’s not a real problem, until it is OUR problem.

We have said that many times since we moved into the O4W of Atlanta, but last night we experienced a more intense problem in this city that we love.

Parking was limited, so Dhati dropped the seven of us off near the stadium while he went to park. Decked out in our Hope-Hill and Inman t-shirts, we were joining hundreds of others to watch the Grady-Carver High School football game at Grady Stadium. Aside from a fight that broke out at Starbucks as we were grabbing some dinner, it was a peaceful and quiet evening—nice weather and an amazing skyline to take in. Read more →

I Just Got Baptized

Ephesians 4: 1-6

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

 

On April 5 of 2015, I proclaimed my love for and obedience to Jesus Christ. A few days later, a study that I’m currently undergoing asked, “Why do you think this was an important step for you to take?” This question got me thinking beyond its initial parameters. This is how I feel about it and others might disagree completely and that is mighty fine! Read more →

The Need For Community

Focusing on John 14:1-6 Pastor John preached about how Jesus is the way. Jesus was talking about going to Heaven with the Father; but He was leaving the people with Holy Spirit. Thomas knew this because he sat under the teaching of Jesus. But when faced with the reality of Jesus physically leaving, he was blinded by anxiety and couldn’t see this truth. As he wondered how he could get to where Jesus was going, Jesus reassured Him that He Himself was the way to the Father. Read more →

God’s Work Outlives His Workers

The book of Judges opens with the five most powerful and chilling words of any other book in the Bible: After the death of Joshua… Read more →

Be Rooted in Family

“that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

John 17:21-23

Jesus prayed that prayer for us. Let me say that again. Jesus prayed that prayer for us. He asked God to make us one in him. To unite us, so he could use us as a city on a hill, a light in the world of darkness, salt in a life of weak flavor, family in a species of broken relationships. Read more →

Broken but Beloved

With this series, we want our blog to invite a spirit of confession & vulnerability that would define our community.

How did I get here?

Who am I?

Now what?

These are the questions I’ve been asking myself the past couple of days. Where is here? Embarrassed, ashamed, broken, contrite and wishing I could run away or sit in my room watching On Demand all day, so I don’t have to deal with reality.  Reaping what I sowed and scared that my future doesn’t look so bright anymore. How did I get here? Chasing satisfaction. Consciously and subconsciously. Embracing the tangible because I couldn’t feel the invisible. And hiding from the light to keep my dark deeds hidden. Read more →

This Is No Utopia

A few weeks ago, while closing his sermon, John prayed a prayer that I hope will change our church forever. Tucked inconspicuously in his prayer was this statement: “Father, send us the people no one else wants.” I mean, it sounds good. We are the church, and we should be a refuge for the broken and abandoned in our city. Our doors should be wide open to receive whoever comes, or more so, we should be out in the city trying our hardest to find them.

Since then, I’ve probably heard Dhati quote John’s prayer in every meeting I’ve been in and every time I’ve heard him speak. But I don’t think that it has penetrated his heart because it is a prayer that sounds good to champion. Quite the opposite, actually. I think this prayer hits home so hard, because, quite simply, we are not ready for this. Read more →

Hide No More

A few weeks ago, at Church in the Park, Muche delivered a powerfully compassionate message using Jesus’ dealings with the woman at the well to point us towards Christ in our quests for satisfaction. At one point, as he continually repeated Jesus’ words—”Go get your husband!”— to this Samaritan, I held back tears. I’ve never been married, or had a boyfriend for that matter, but I could imagine the emotions stirring within her. Earlier, Muche had captured the essence of the shame she must have carried with her by drawing attention to the time of day she’d come to the well and noting that she’d made that trip alone. She’d seemingly avoided all the disapproving stares of those who were aware of her five failed marriages and her current relationship, just to end up face-to-face with the son of God. Great. It’s one thing for people to kinda know your business; it’s another thing for someone to know every single one of your thoughts. Hiding no longer makes sense. Read more →

Deciding with others

You fall into one of three categories. You’re either preparing to make one.  You’re living in light of the consequences of one that you’ve made.  Or you’re rethinking one that you were convinced of at some point in time.  What am I talking about?  Decisions.  Major decisions.  Life-Shaping Decisions. Read more →

Expansion & Excavation

My name is John, and I’m a pendulum swinger.  I don’t mean to be, it kind of just happens.  I live in a constant state of FOMO or fear of missing out. Maybe you’re like me.  Maybe you are perfectly content doing something and then you see someone else talk about an activity (that couldn’t be more unlike what you’re currently doing) and you feel like you’re missing out on something.  So you, like me, drop everything that you’re doing because you don’t want to miss out.  There’s so many arenas that this takes place in life, from workout plans to diets to hobbies—you name it.  Somebody always has advice on what we “should” be doing that makes us feel like we’ve been wasting our time.  So, we scrap what we’re currently doing and start from scratch. Lately, as we’ve been going through the book of Acts as a church, uncovering the history of the church, I’ve felt this pressure in evangelism. Read more →

Why not?

The harvest is plentiful. I get it.

But I got it last summer when I was a kounselor at KAA and encountered teenagers in need of the hope of the Gospel. (Yes, we spell kounselor with a ‘k’ there, among other things.) It gripped me. There’s a world full of people who don’t know Jesus. They do not have a relationship with the greatest love of all. They are existing, but they are far from living. I even came back home after that epiphany, which followed a trip to Guatemala where the global need for Christ and the vanities of my life in this country were realized, motivated to live an intentionally missional life. I wanted to share with everyone I could, because I’d realized how many people are in need of the Good News.

But then reality sunk in—the kamp experience is not the real world experience. Read more →

Forgive me for asking

For the past few weeks, hmm maybe months, I’ve been wrestling with something inside. My friends can attest to it, because just about once every week I’m venting to one of them about it. I even read some articles that communicated much of what I was dealing with (Anthony Bradley and Jasmine Baucham), but not exactly.  I do feel like an emphasis on discipleship and exposing our comfortable Christianity were necessary books and speeches written and given by David Platt and others, but I don’t think we’ve heard enough of the perhaps less radical messages to give us a healthy tension. So, I feel trapped in the thinking that I have to share Jesus everywhere in everything. I wanted to come to some amazing, John Piper-inspired conclusion about it, but I can’t. I didn’t want to keep questioning God or other people, but I know that God (at least) can handle my questions—even if it means He’ll just respond with even better ones like he did to Job (was that not the finest sarcasm ever?). So, please God, forgive me for asking…

But can I just live a normal life? Read more →

Ugly People Hate Mirrors

Being a member of the Blueprint family for the past three years has been an incredible blessing for me. One of the primary things that the Lord has taught me is the importance of the community’s role in my growth as a believer. I’ve heard Dhati hammer the point home on countless occasions: Community exists for the purpose of sanctification. Makes sense.

I mean, you can’t really exercise the gifts of the Spirit alone, and you certainly can’t bear the fruit of the Spirit alone.

This is one of those statements that sounds really good on paper (Yeah, lets challenge each other and grow closer to Jesus!) but gets pretty messy once you actually try and do it. Being merciful when you’ve been wronged is not easy. Giving cheerfully when you’re broke? Not easy. Longsuffering? It is as unpleasant as it sounds. But that is the reality. For whatever reason, God in His wisdom has ordained the community as the primary environment for discipleship and spiritual growth. And within this community, marriage is set apart with special significance. Read more →

Talking to Strangers

How do I say hi?

To answer, I posed the question to MizChatty, an experienced conversationalist (and fictitious persona).

This is what MizChatty says:
“Start with Goodbye.”
“Yes, That’s what I said. You heard me. Let me explain.”

“When I was a teen I noticed most of the other teens looked like this:”

“Then again, I probably looked like them too.”

Read more →

Some Slightly Misanthropic Thoughts On Community

I typically read the first paragraphs of most Christian non-fiction with qualms I am only now admitting I have. “I’m a little fragile,” I say to the book, “Can I trust you not to mislead or condemn or discourage me?” (This is more than a little ironic when you consider that I write Christian non-fiction for a living.) It’s not that I’m unteachable. I daily open the Word and welcome its nigh-unto-impossible instructions, but the writer of biblical words is a trustworthy God who is full of mercy and grace. Human writers are just so… so human. Read more →

Ready.Set.Wait.

Go.

We go to work. We go to class. We go to the movies (if we can still afford to). We’re always going somewhere it seems. If we’re not, then the assumption is that we’re lazy. Motion equals purpose in most of our minds. Or, in the Christian context, it means we’re on mission. Jesus told us to “go and make disciples” and Francis Chan warns us not to “make excuses.” Everything seems to fall on us going.

But what about waiting? When’s the last time you were encouraged or had that often prayed for, yet (just as often) rarely attainable peace in waiting? Most encouragement to wait usually surrounds talks about purity and singleness.  Beyond that, who really waits anymore? You have a dream; make it a reality! You want to try something new; do it today! Tomorrow isn’t promised; so, get going!

While waiting can be counterproductive, in Acts 1 we find that everything seemed to fall on the apostles not going (just yet), but instead waiting. Read more →

New Service

 

It’s been amazing to see the faithfulness of God over the past 3 and a half years that Blueprint Church has been in existence in the city of Atlanta.  From 30 people meeting in a living room in the summer of 2009, to watching the seats fill up at 2 services every Sunday, hearing the countless stories of how God is unleashing people to do ministry where life exists in our neighborhoods, our city, our country and even our world (through members that live in the city as well as those that have been sent overseas as missionaries) we are humbled by the amazing work God has done in and through us as a church.  We are just as thankful for YOU—the amazing family that God has created at Blueprint Church. Read more →

What Does Racial Healing Look Like?

A Georgia State Senator recently filed Senate Resolution 28, a statement of “remorse” over our state’s part in slavery. Detractors argue that it is too little too late, that it should—but doesn’t—use the word “apologize.” Supporters are grateful Georgia is finally doing what other Southern States have done and are officially acknowledging the grave errors of our past.

Which has got me to wondering about racial healing. What does it really look like? A legislative action? Read more →

God In Us

When Dhati kicked off our new series, One, by looking at the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church he gave the challenge to study the person of the Spirit as depicted in John 14-16. What follows are my thoughts.

The story depicts the emotionally charged account of Jesus’ last night before he was betrayed and delivered over to be crucified. In John 16, Jesus is trying to warn his disciples of His fastly approaching death. The man who they had come to know and trust as Lord, who they left families and gave up everything to follow, would no longer be there to guide, teach and love them.  I don’t think there is a louder cry in the human heart than the desire to know God. And they had him: tangibly, intimately and very personally.

And he was leaving. Read more →

Friends with benefits?

This past Sunday, as a body, we walked through 1 Corinthians 11:17-28, as I shared on the importance of Christ, and Him alone, remaining central to the church. While I was preparing earlier in the week to preach on that passage and building a case for the significance of communion to our Sunday gathering, one of my arguments sent me beyond our weekly service. The fact that communion re-establishes our unity as the Body of Christ drifted towards one of the downfalls of the Body. The unfortunate reality is that many of our practices as believers, in regards to church, mirror the social scene of popular society: commitment phobia. If we’re not dating churches, we’re in a long-term relationship with one (church), but still making “friends” with others.

Read more →