my desk


i love my desk. it isn’t really anything special but i do love it. it is made from an interior door that i bought three years ago and painted black to use during tapestry’s advent conspiracy focus. i used two of these doors as walls in the rear of our typical worship gathering setup. i encouraged people to write on them things concerning how they were celebrating advent or what they were learning slash struggling with. they have been in my basement for three years now while i was considering what to do with them. when i recently moved my study back up into the “man cave” i took one of them and created a new desk.

i love the fact that every time i look at them i see what people wrote concerning what GOD was doing in their lives. i kind of wish that i could take it back to tapestry a few times a year and let people write more on it.

the third question


when i discuss interpreting scripture with people (i.e. the study of hermeneutics) i summarize what is involved by asking people to consider 3 things whenever they approach what GOD is saying in and through scripture. these questions are:

  1. what did this passage mean to the first people to hear it?
  2. what does this passage mean to a modern reader?
  3. what does this passage mean for me?

the first two questions aren’t really what i want to discuss right now. i will say that they primarily deal with understanding the story that you are reading in scripture. for example, while i have picked peanuts (a story for another time) i have never threshed wheat before. if i am reading the story of gideon it is important for me to understand that it would not be common for someone to thresh wheat in a winepress because that reveals something important concerning gideon and the situation he is in. it is also important for me to understand that there are modern correlations to gideon threshing wheat in a winepress and how i connect with them.

right now i want to mention the third question because i have been running into it a lot recently. the third question “what does this passage mean for me” could be rephrased as “how do i now live in light of this passage?” involving ourselves with GOD word should be an interactive rather than a passive experience. GOD wants to introduce HIS SON to us through scripture and when we meet JESUS, and see WHO HE is, then we have to respond to HIM. how does this passage change me? how does this passage challenge me? how does this passage encourage me in my present circumstances? what does this passage say about my life right now?

the small group study that pam and i are a part of on wednesday nights is presently reading through mark buchanan’s book “your GOD is too safe” (an excellent read that i thoroughly recommend). last night we went through chapters 7 & 8 which are kind of depressing. it kind of left the entire group in a bit of a bummer mood. we agreed with what buchanan wrote and that left us all a little down. at the end of the evening adam h asked “so what do we do with this now?” in other words, this has us all down because we believe it is true so how do we now live in light of what we have just learned. it really was the perfect question.

it is also a question that i feel like is far to often changed to “so what should someone else do with this now?” it often seems that we treat the bible as a list of instructions that other people should be changed by rather than something that we should be changed by. what a crock! first and foremost i am the one who needs to be changed by my interaction with GOD. yes, ever now and then i might be a part of GOD changing others but that has to come out of a great deal of humility which has been developed by GOD constantly transforming me and removing the planks from my own eyes.

encountering GOD through HIS word should be a dangerous experience for us because it is one of the prime ways that GOD builds us into the ones HE knows we can become. construction zones are considered hard hat areas because the work of building something up involves a great deal of risk. asking the third question puts me in construction zone mindset. what needs to be changed? what needs to be removed? what needs to be begun?

my hope is that 2012 is a big third question year for me and everyone in tapestry.

could someone tell me why?


someone stole our driveway lamps last night sometime after 11:30 p.m. i know it was after 11:30 p.m. because the lights were still there when adam came home last night from hanging out with friends. of course, there is a possibility that it is a practical joke. in which case i would assume that my lamps will be back tonight. if it is a practical joke then i think it is pretty funny and extremely random.

but if someone actually stole my lamps i am confused.

really?!?!?! why would anyone steal my lamps? they couldn’t be worth much. there can’t be a high demand for post lamps on the black market. they are $37 brand new. you could sell stolen ones for what? maybe $5 this can’t be a very lucrative form of criminal activity.

most creative show on tv


just in case you don’t know this, in my opinion “community” is the most creative show on television right now. i love the show because they are always trying something different. the only thing that is predictable about “community” is that they are going to try something different each week. i love the imagination they use in making the show.

shouldn’t church be this creative? shouldn’t church be a group of people who are so secure in our worth because of what GOD has said about us that we aren’t afraid to imagine and take HUGE risks?

the small group that i am a part of each wednesday night is presently going through mark buchanan’s great book “your GOD is to safe." i love this book. we’ve recently gone through his chapter dealing with imagination in faith. in that chapter he states the following:

imagination is anemic today, and nowhere is this more evident than in most of our churches

unfortunately i think buchanan is correct here. a lot of CHRISTian churches don’t involve imagination in the way they do church gatherings or live out their faith. i think this is because change/imagination involves risk and most of us don’t like risk. we would rather do things that merely look creative. instead of actually “creating” anything new and thereby following in the shoes of our creator GOD we stay with the safe, predictable, and boring.

right now i feel like we at tapestry use a great deal of imagination in how we live our faith. my hope is that we continue to do so.

my CHRISTmas gift from pam


in the spirit of advent conspiracy part of my gift from pam was a trip over to tanners bar and grill in kimberly, wisconsin to be a part of the audience for “in the huddle” with bill scott and b.j. raji. we were hoping to get an autograph from raji and whoever his special guest was going to be (it turned out that it was james jones) but unfortunately that was not to be. instead we were 10 feet away from james jones sharing photos of his new born baby with raji. they didn’t do any autographs tonight but watching that was really cool.

the sermon at tapestry tonight

tapestry is a bit of an odd church in many ways. one of the ways that we are different is that CHRISTmas and easter are our two lowest attendance worship gatherings, rather than our highest. since we are primarily a congregation of younger parishioners most of the group heads to families in other towns on these two days.

since a large part of our number will be missing tonight i thought i would post the sermon i will be using tonight for any thread to read so that you might be a part of us.

i am reading john chrysostom’s historic CHRISTmas sermon. i think it is a wonderful sermon and wanted to share it.

so here it is.

BEHOLD a new and wondrous mystery. My ears resound to the Shepherd’s song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn.  The Angels sing.  The Archangels blend their voice in harmony.  The Cherubim hymn their joyful praise.  The Seraphim exalt His glory.  All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth, and man in heaven.  He Who is above, now for our redemption dwells here below; and he that was lowly is by divine mercy raised.


Bethlehem this day resembles heaven; hearing from the stars the singing of angelic voices; and in place of the sun, enfolds within itself on every side, the Sun of justice.  And ask not how: for where God wills, the order of nature yields.  For He willed, He had the power, He descended, He redeemed; all things yielded in obedience to God.  This day He Who is, is Born; and He Who is, becomes what He was not.  For when He was God, He became man; yet not departing from the Godhead that is His.  Nor yet by any loss of divinity became He man, nor through increase became He God from man; but being the Word He became flesh, His nature, because of impassability, remaining unchanged.


And so the kings have come, and they have seen the heavenly King that has come upon the earth, not bringing with Him Angels, nor Archangels, nor Thrones, nor Dominations, nor Powers, nor Principalities, but, treading a new and solitary path, He has come forth from a spotless womb.


Since this heavenly birth cannot be described, neither does His coming amongst us in these days permit of too curious scrutiny.  Though I know that a Virgin this day gave birth, and I believe that God was begotten before all time, yet the manner of this generation I have learned to venerate in silence and I accept that this is not to be probed too curiously with wordy speech.  For with God we look not for the order of nature, but rest our faith in the power of Him who works.


What shall I say to you; what shall I tell you? I behold a Mother who has brought forth; I see a Child come to this light by birth.  The manner of His conception I cannot comprehend.


Nature here rested, while the Will of God labored. O ineffable grace!  The Only Begotten, Who is before all ages, Who cannot be touched or be perceived, Who is simple, without body, has now put on my body, that is visible and liable to corruption.  For what reason?  That coming amongst us he may teach us, and teaching, lead us by the hand to the things that men cannot see.  For since men believe that the eyes are more trustworthy than the ears, they doubt of that which they do not see, and so He has deigned to show Himself in bodily presence, that He may remove all doubt.


Christ, finding the holy body and soul of the Virgin, builds for Himself a living temple, and as He had willed, formed there a man from the Virgin; and, putting Him on, this day came forth; unashamed of the lowliness of our nature’.  For it was to Him no lowering to put on what He Himself had made.  Let that handiwork be forever glorified, which became the cloak of its own Creator.  For as in the first creation of flesh, man could not be made before the clay had come into His hand, so neither could this corruptible body be glorified, until it had first become the garment of its Maker.


What shall I say!  And how shall I describe this Birth to you?  For this wonder fills me with astonishment.  The Ancient of days has become an infant.  He Who sits upon the sublime and heavenly Throne, now lies in a manger.  And He Who cannot be touched, Who is simple, without complexity, and incorporeal, now lies subject to the hands of men.  He Who has broken the bonds of sinners, is now bound by an infants bands.  But He has decreed that ignominy shall become honor, infamy be clothed with glory, and total humiliation the measure of His Goodness.


For this He assumed my body, that I may become capable of His Word; taking my flesh, He gives me His spirit; and so He bestowing and I receiving, He prepares for me the treasure of Life.  He takes my flesh, to sanctify me; He gives me His Spirit, that He may save me.


Come, then, let us observe the Feast. Truly wondrous is the whole chronicle of the Nativity.  For this day the ancient slavery is ended, the devil confounded, the demons take to flight, the power of death is broken, paradise is unlocked, the curse is taken away, sin is removed from us, error driven out, truth has been brought back, the speech of kindliness diffused, and spreads on every side, a heavenly way of life has been ‘in planted on the earth, angels communicate with men without fear, and men now hold speech with angels.


Why is this?  Because God is now on earth, and man in heaven; on every side all things commingle. He became Flesh.  He did not become God.  He was God.  Wherefore He became flesh, so that He Whom heaven did not contain, a mang0er would this day receive. He was placed in a manger, so that He, by whom all things arc nourished, may receive an infant’s food from His Virgin Mother.  So, the Father of all ages, as an infant at the breast, nestles in the virginal arms, that the Magi may more easily see Him.  Since this day the Magi too have come, and made a beginning of withstanding tyranny; and the heavens give glory, as the Lord is revealed by a star.


To Him, then, Who out of confusion has wrought a clear path, to Christ, to the Father, and to the Holy Ghost, we offer all praise, now and for ever.  Amen.

the traditional terrell CHRISTmas card

shelf elf copy 3

i hope everyone has a wonderful day celebrating the incarnation of GOD.

above is the card we sent out this year. i’m not sure why but we have developed a traditional slightly odd CHRISTmas cards. here are a few from past years.

2010-CHRISTmas-card-for-4x8-copy  327722588_81630bbb9a_b  4212464458_4475a221e3_b

it’s a fun tradition that we all get in to.

we also still do the traditional CHRISTmas newsletter (though it feels a little like facebook and other social media have done away with its purpose). here is the newsletter that pam typed this year.

again i hope everyone has an amazing day celebrating the joy that i believe CHRIST brings to the world.

reason #25,137 that i love tapestry

DSC_0001-2 DSC_0002-2-2

just in case you don’t realize this, i get to lead the coolest church on the face of the planet. i don’t mean that we are cool in the “hey look at us we’re cool cause we wear v-neck t shirts and scarves” sort of way. nope what i mean is that the threads of tapestry are simply amazing people. the two photos above are one more example of how amazing the people of tapestry are.

a few weeks ago pete (one of the members of the leadership team) thought we should do a gift exchange. he asked me what i thought. i am usually not a big fan of gift exchanges because i think they usually lead to a bunch of meaningless crap. pete’s idea was different and i really liked it. his idea was that in the spirit of advent conspiracy the gifts should cost basically nothing. whoever signed up for the gift exchange would be given a name and their goal would be to find out as much as possible about that person and then find or make a gift for next to no expense that would connect to that person. like i said before i am not usually a fan of gift exchanges but i definitely am a fan of us giving of ourselves and that’s exactly what pete’s idea sounded like to me.

tonight most of the gifts were exchanged. i was amazed at the creativity, caring, and research that went into the gifts. kate gave pam a journal that details the rules of our family car game (pam explains the car game here). what a great gift. the photos above are of the gift that kayleigh gave me. it is a journal that she made. yeah that’s right SHE MADE THE ABOVE JOURNAL. the outside cover is from a t-shirt from a service project that we worked on together and the inside has micah 6:8 on it (a verse of scripture that i love and one that she remembered me using in a sermon a few weeks ago). i love to journal and what better journal than one made by a thread?

i saw other amazing gifts that spoke of presence, time, creativity, and love. from bacon roses (mhmm … bacon) to spice rubs to afghans to mix-cd’s to scarves. all amazing gifts that cost lots of time and energy but very little money.

i don’t mean to brag but i get to lead the most amazing church around.