Friday, December 12, 2008

Coffee Pot/Maker

I have a friend (ahem... I will not name any names) who accidentally broke their coffee pot... anyone have a replacement laying around??? It needs to be replaced by Monday morning... ;)

thank you,


*I assure you it is not me who broke the aforementioned coffee pot. I am merely trying to help a friend (or family member)

**It is certainly not Diana either...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Stop Hunger Now

I just received an email promoting Stop Hunger Now. Thanks for everyone who helped us out a few weeks back. What we are doing matters :)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Pics

Last night we had great fun trick o treating a day early. We decided to pick up canned goods to take to the Salvation Army. Their food pantry has felt the economic crunch as well and we hope to contribute about 60 cans from our halloween fun.

Some people had left bags with cans outside for us and were very encouraging. Others were a little confused and thought they had gotten their dates mixed up... but, all in all we had a great time and trust that some folks who need these cans will be blessed by them.

Check out the sweet costumes we sported.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Gifts Assessment Link

If you are looking to take a spiritual gift assessment to help give you an idea of how you might become more involved with our home group, please use this link. This is the website that we are trying to get all of the home groups to use so that we have a common language as a church. There are three parts to the test... 1) personality 2) gifts & 3) leadership style.

Once you go to the link you will need to create a user name and password and fill out some basic contact info. This all goes to a data base for me (traci) to look at.

We would love to talk with you more specifically about what spiritual gifts are all about and how we view that as an essential part of our group!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Celebrating the Kingdom

Last week several of us when to Stop Hunger Now to package meals to be sent overseas. We learned that most of the meals we were packaging are going to Haiti to help with those who have been hurt by the Hurricane.

Some of the coolest things:

Michael wearing Lisa while packaging boxes. 

Getting to try some of the freshly cooked meals.

Having conversations while scooping soy, rice, and veggies together. 

Watching how quick Nathan moves from station to station. We couldn't have done it as quickly with you! 

Knowing that this organization has a long term process in place to make sure individuals get the nutrition that they need. 

Beating last years amount by 186 meals. 

Thanks for everyone who helped out!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Last Night............

For anybody that wants to listen to the MP3 from last night:

we didn't get a chance to discuss this talk, if you have any thoughts, please start up some conversation.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Paul: An example for us

Although I missed out on home group last week, I got an update about it from Matt and Jeff. Of course I have something to say about the discussion...

It sounded like one of the main points we took away from that night was the ability to talk about our life journeys. If I understand correctly, giving a short example about how my life was on a journey in one direction and then talking about how following Jesus has set my life in a new direction is an effective way to share our stories with people.

I was reading in Acts this morning and Paul was making his defense before Agripa. His testimony to him seems to model this exactly. Take a look. Its Acts 26.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Evangelism and Charity

Good talk last night... good because it left all the wheels in my head turning really fast. The crux of my frustration is that although the "conclusion" we came to was that we have to love, what's often taught and said (in this case, the video) really sends the message "We have to DO". It's not about loving people... it's about how to inject their lives w/ the pestering of proselytizations! DO this and you too can be a good Christian! Because all good Christians show their love to their friends by "working on them" for years and decades.

Earlier in the day, I had a talk w/ my car pool buddy about feeding the poor as Christians. We discussed the motivation and I expressed my annoyance w/ the idea that some Christians would only feed the poor when it fulfilled their mission to evangelize. While one can easily argue that side of things, I think it's extremely difficult to credibly and seriously make the claim that you are going to love people unconditionally when you have ulterior motives... no matter how sincere and love-driven those motives are. If Jesus' ministry had centered around trying to convince people that he was the Messiah or getting them to change their behavior, it would have been an utter failure. He loved people unconditionally. Yet, when we are told the story of the woman at the well, we are ALWAYS reminded that Jesus told her to "go and sin no more". The point of the story was that Jesus loved this woman unconditionally and made her human again in a society that had marginalized her. The point was NOT that people shouldn't commit adultery. So we should feed the poor because we are overflowing with love and care for them and we want to (perhaps as a result of following Christ!), but we shouldn't feed them out of a desire to convert them. Am I wrong here?

So when we talk about evangelism, I have a hard time with it. I realize that the whole point of evanglism is to "convert"! But the way it is executed leaves me (and obviously many non-believers) with a sour taste in my mouth. It's hard to argue that it's about the love. It's easy to see it being about the conversions. It's not just the revival-style either. That video kinda made me sick. I don't want to be someone else's project... I don't care how much they love me! If something really is the truth, won't it be a bit more self-evident than having to spend a decade befriending someone to convince them?

Sorry to be such a stick in the mud on this. Thoughts? Flames?


A thought

A quote keeps coming to mind. In light of the conversation we had last night...

Seek to understand rather than to be understood.

Sometimes I really good at this and other times I really bad.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Building the Stone Wall

I have the privilege of working with multiple groups on building up the body of Christ, and so over the past few weeks I have been reading even more and having conversations that are helping me to understand what questions and opportunities might be helpful for people in considering how we fit together as a group.

These are just a few more questions to ponder:

• What value do you bring to the home group?
• What do you need in order to be successful?
• When dealing with conflict, how do you like to be approached?
• What motivates you?

Could you complete the following statement?

If I am to honor how God made me, I should seek ministry opportunities that require…. And say “No” to opportunities that require…

I think it would be great if we could start a dialogue about this on the blog.

I'll go first...

1) I bring value to the home group by providing motivation and encouragement to fulfill the calls that Christ has for us a group. I am able to bring people together who might become good friends or have resources and talents that could help one another. I like to come up with processes and provide opportunities for other people to be empowered to use their gifts. I would also be a good person to talk to if you have an emotional or spiritual problem and need a listener and encourager.

2) I need feedback on how I am doing and interaction with other people on a regular basis in order to succeed. I need to discuss ideas and opportunities with others. I need to be held accountable that I can't do everything or be everything to everyone. I need to be reminded to slow down and that I'm not Jesus, but that I follow Jesus.

3) As far as conflict goes, I'm not sure... I don't really like conflict, but I would like to be approached in person and preferably in a place where we could work through things. I don't like "you did x, y, and z" wrong statements and often take criticism personally even if its not meant to be that way. I prefer, "I feel uncomfortable, I disagree, I feel hurt, when you did x, y, z" statement. Then I know better how to respond.

4) I am motivated by scripture, books, and talks with others who have a lot of passion. I am motivated if I a specific task that I can check of my list to accomplish.

I'm still working on the last fill in the blank statement...

anyone else want to share?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Christian license plates...

What on earth are we coming to?

Do we really need to show off our beliefs on license plates now?

I saw this on a CNN article online. I think this is hysterical.

...I think we should pitch in and get these for Jeff and Jason's cars. :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Anybody want to try this out?

My journey group is going through a book that has activities for the week, basically a spiritual exercise that we try to do and then we talk about how it went. Last we was beneficial to me, so I thought I'd share this week's exercise with ya'll in case anyone wants to try it out.

Experiment this week with living life as Jesus would if he were in your place; specifically focus on spending a day consciously "at home" with the Father-- living in his grace. Here are some ideas:

  • Wake up and direct your first thoughts to his loving presence.
  • Pay attention to his gracious daily provisions, even the ordinary ones-- a closet full of clothes, a hot shower, the ability to see, think, hear, and feel.
  • Look for some examples of his grace around you in scenes of natural beauty, the face of a friend, meaningful accomplishments, moments that make you laugh.
  • When you sit down for a meal, imagine God preparing this table just for you. Slow down; enjoy the gift of food in his presence.
  • Pursue a favorite activity. Try to consciously engage in it with your Father as your companion.
  • When you fail, bring it honestly to him. Experience his open arms of forgiveness.
Does it make any difference to live this way? Is God's companionship enjoyable? Do you feel like your days are spent living freely in your Father's house? What did you find hindered your ability to enter into this kind of grace?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Saw this on CNN today

This is wild to me, I can't even imagine what this group was thinking with a freakin plane flying over their heads.

It makes me think about the gospel and can God transcend a person not verbally hearing the gospel? I tend to think he can, but it's an interesting thought and conversation.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

TV Last night

Did anyone else see Amy Hathaway on TV last night?

Amy, you did a great job talking about the project at Fletcher park. It was pretty complex and you were very eloquent and easy to listen to. I have to admit that I don't remember all of what you said, but I am looking forward to the new pedestrian entrance off of Boylan.

Can you clarify the difference between a rain garden and a water garden?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Where do we go from here?

Our group has had some great discussions over the past two weeks and my desire is to see some of the ideas that we talked about become a reality. 

I want every one to know that you don't need to wait to act. Please continue to talk with others, read, and try out things that will help you figure out your gifting and then seek opportunities to use them. 

If you are an encourager, leader, organizer, have discernment please help call out the gifts of others and/or come up with ways for us to incorporate them in the life of the group. This is a dynamic process that we are going to need to work together on. 

I am reminded by Jason's comment last night, "greater love has no man than this, to lay down his life for a friend." One of my prayers is that we come to understand more of what it means to love one another. 

In Romans 12, just before one of the spiritual gift lists Paul writes, 
"Therefore I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy to offer your body's as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God -- this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-- his good, pleasing, and perfect will." 

If you would like to search the scriptures on your own to find out more about Spiritual Gifts, here are some places to start: 

Romans 12: 1- 21
1 Corinthains 12:1- 14:40 (This includes several chapters)
Ephesians 4: 1-19 

Please post questions and comments here

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

watering in raleigh

You've probably noticed all the rain we've been getting this spring. Well, we're almost officially out of the drought. The NC Drought Monitor says that the Raleigh area is still abnormally dry, but that's way better than the exceptional drought we were in earlier.

Raleigh still has water restrictions going on, but they've lightenend up a bit. Here's a press release describing the latest info for watering in Raleigh.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Spiritual Gifts

As a group we are moving forward in the directions that God is calling us and I am super pumped about it. I believe that the Lord is moving in the life of Visio Dei and in each of our unique journey's of faith. 

On Thursday we talked about the three main purposes of our home group:
1) We desire to collectively grow as Learners, Lovers, and Givers.
2) We desire to be a community that is discovering and living out our gifting.
3) We desire to be a community in movement. 

As we are growing collectively and striving to live out our unique calling we will be like the mustard seed (the smallest of all garden plants) that became the largest tree and offered shade to every area of the garden. 

In order to help us discover our gifts I have a few websites and materials to check out. 

This website has a short video that describes spiritual gifts, an in depth description of 20 spiritual gifts with questions to help you reflect on them and stories of how people are using them. It also has a short (21 question) gift test. This was one of the best (holistic) online resources that I found.

This is the original test that we asked people to consider taking and reflecting on. Give yourself at least 30 minutes to answer. There are 108 questions on this test.

I have not taken this test, but it has 140 questions and considers 28 different gifts in the analysis. This site recommends saving an hour of time to take the test. 

***Please remember that tests are simply a starting point for you!! Finding our spiritual gifts is a process.*** 

This book covers practical strengths that we have and how they play out practically. There is an assessment that goes along with it but there is a fee attached to it. I have one copy of this book if anyone would like to borrow it.

A book that offers insight into how our core needs and strengths can be used for greatness and also are attached to our inherent sinfulness. It is very interesting and insightful. You will be challenged to understand yourself and core needs in new ways. I also have one copy of this book if anyone would like to borrow it.

**In the next post I will copy and paste my notes from Tim Keller's talk. I will also attach it to an email to our entire home group. If you have not heard this talk yet and would like to please contact Jason, Jeff, or Traci and we will work to get it to you.**

My hope with all of this is that we are starting a process of discovery that is freeing and meaningful for our group. 

We love because God first loved us! What a privilege it is to be uniquely created for the work that God has for us.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Last Thursday Jason helped us to lead each other into worship. I took the liberty of writing down what everyone said. I was trying to capture themes and see how God is and has been moving in our community. They spoke to me about who God is. Here are some of the things that God has done, is doing, and is going to do...

Has built and continues to build friendships: Ones that we may or may not be looking for
Works through conflict and challenges us to change, helps us let go of our stubbornness and control
Provides jobs with purpose
Teaches us through times without jobs with purpose
Creates Nature, mountains, opportunities to see and experience this creation
Provides Health
Provides Patience
Brings peace in uncertainty
Calls us outward in new ways and provides strength when we do so
Brings Hope to situations where Hope is hard to find

God is Love, God is Just, God is Peace

It was hard for a lot of us to dream about the future and we hope for God to do. I am challenged by this. Its scary to "predict" what God is going to do, because what if he doesn't? How can we Hope in His steps as move forward as a community?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Valentines Day Pics

Thank you to everyone who contributed to our Valentines Day celebration. Check out my blog for pictures and commentary.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I just got an email annoucement from Redbox that the movie, Trade, is now available to rent. If you're unfamiliar with Redbox, it's a DVD rental vending machine located at some Harris Teeters in town. You pay by credit card and DVDs are $1 a night. I think Traci had a plug about this movie a few months ago, but I don't think it ever came to theaters in Raleigh.

I'm probably going to try and rent it soon and wanted to pass along the info for all of you! :)

See ya on Thursday.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"Sermon on the Mount"

Hello All,
Last Thursday and continuing to this Thursday we will be discussing things in parallel with the teachings on Sundays on the "sermon on the mount." This will be a theme for homegroup teaching during Jeff's series. Basically, we'll spend time talking about concepts that are brought up during Sunday teachings. If you have questions or want to discuss something from the Sunday teachings, we can do that. This will give us a chance to think further and "wrestle" with the concepts from the "sermon on the mount."

Jeff may even let you wrestle him.

Listening to the podcasts from Sunday and reading the text might add even more thought to this process. But, all can contribute without doing so.

See you tomorrow !!