24 December, 2006

Christmas in Glasthule

A few of us from The Journey joined up with members of DEC and Serve the City this Christmas to remind others (and ourselves) that Christ cares little for consumerism and much for people. So, we bought mass amounts of luxury and basic food items (we had your sugar, your tea, your jellies, your can 'o beans, your After Eights, etc.) packed them into re-usable shopping bags, tied a ribbon on the end and distributed them to a community in Glasthule. I had a great time. In fact I think my son Eoin (2) summed it up best when we were driving back home. I asked him if he had a fun time and he replied with excitement, "YA, FUNNNN!"

I think that when we start to re-orient our lives (i.e. our actions, our desires, our feelings, our relationships, etc.) to the way that Jesus lived - we start to see the World as God intended it - and that is FUNNNN. It gives you a joy, a joy that I believe is contagious.

Check out some pics of the day. You'l see pictures of Eoin putting Brandon and myself to shame with his mad guitar playing skills.

Matt

15 November, 2006

Operation Christmas Child 2006



Once again this year we went to neighbours and friends and collected many shoeboxes full of goodies for children in countries in Eastern Europe and in Southern Africa as part of he Operation Christmas Child appeal.

In the following weeks we invited people to join us in Operation Christmas Child's warehouse in Sandyford Industrial Estate to check, sort, pack or stack many of the thousands of boxes which had come in from all over Dublin. Afterwards we went out for a milkshake at the local Eddie Rockets or McDonalds where we could talk about the experience and get to know each other a little better.

It was great to see the enthusiasm of the volunteers and the willingness to give their time to make it possible for many children in poor communities to receive a gift at Christmas. This reflects the gift that God gave the world over 2000 years ago. This gift was Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God, who was born in Bethlehem in humble circumstances. He would ultimately give His life as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of all mankind and thereby make it possible for us to enter into God's presence for eternity. We simply have to accept God's gift, just like the children accept the gifts offered to them through the Operation Christmas Child initiative.

"For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 (NLT)

18 October, 2006

Bono

I remember talking to Andrew Jones one time and he suggested that Bono was the Pope of the emerging/missional movement. Not sure Bono would see himself that way but his personal commitment to see the AIDS crises met and unjust debt cancelled in Africa is challenging the church to be who they say they are. And what's more, many are listening. All this from a rock star? Bono said in an interview that it's simply a sign of how bad things are in Africa that it takes a silly rock star to bring our attention to them. He noted that we shouldn't be listening to him, we should be listening to the professionals but in this crazy world that values celebrity he's willing to leverage whatever fame he has as currency to get people interested in Africa and to get them to get their governments interested in Africa.

I mention Bono because he spoke at the leadership summit a few of us attended from a little over a week ago (well he didn't exactly speak - he did an exclusive interview with Billy Hybels and we watched the video but since the whole thing was in video for us at the Belfast satellite, it didn't really matter. This is all besides the point). The interview was excellent. There's a rumour going around that we may get a copy but until then I thought I'd let you all hear Bono in his own words:

USA National Prayer Meeting, 2006

Bono Interview in Africa, 2006

09 October, 2006

Erwin McManus

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Just a reminder to those of you who want to attend the Erwin McManus event on Nov. 4th. You can buy your tickets online at the EAI Website (click on events). You can choose to spend your whole Saturday there (€20) or opt for just the evening session (€10). Erwin will be speaking on Uprising.

05 October, 2006

Leadership Summit

Looking forward to the upcoming Leadership Summit. A good crew of us are going to be taking the weekend up at Belfast to be challenged and learn. Rumour has it that there is going to be a video of a video of an interview with Bono! Seriously though, really looking forward to the weekend and the conversations it begins.

Link: Leadership Summit

29 September, 2006

Snowboard Trip Informational Meeting

The Journey lads-only Snowboard Trip happening in February 2007 will be having its informational meeting on Wed. October 4th at 8pm at Cormac & Karen's home in Blackrock. Send us an email: journeycommunity [at] gmail [dot] com and we'll pass you on the info. Also, if you know of any lads in 3rd-6th year who would like to come along, please let them know.

21 September, 2006

Snowboard Camp 2007

Well after a summer of searching and praying we finally found the location for this year's snowboarding camp. It will be In the lovely town (I've never been there but almost everything in the Alps is lovely) of Valtournenche in Northern Italy. Those who know their geography are well aware that this puts us only 9kms away from the Breuil-Cervinia-Zermatt ski resort (ya, that's the place with the Matterhorn). This resort is one of the top ranked ski resorts in the world. What's more, the place that we found gives us reduced rates on snowboard rental and ski-passes meaning it looks like it should fit into our budget. We also have 40 beds this year which gives us a much greater capacity than last year. Just wanted to let you all get excited with us.

Serve The City Basketball Camp

A few of us from the Journey will be helping with Serve The City's first basketball camp in Stillorgan. It will be a day for kids ages 10-14. There's something for all skill levels. If you're new to the game, come and learn the fundamentals of the game. If you've played the sport before, come ready to develop and strengthen those skills. Irish basketball star Jerome Westbrook will be leading the one-day camp. If you have a child aged 10-14 who you think would be interested in the day please send us an email at journeycommunity [at] gmail.com.

Details:
Location - St. Benildus College, Stillorgan
Date - Saturday, 23rd of September 2007
Time - 9:45am - 4pm

12 September, 2006

3 Days With 3 Events

1. Marriage Day - Saturday, Sept. 16th 2007. There is still some space if you would like to join us as we take a day to invest in our marriages. It will be held at the Ramada Woodland Court Hotel, Southern Cross Road, Bray, Co. Wicklow from 9:45am to 4:30pm. The cost is €20 per person but please don't let the cost stop you from attending. We will be happy to cover it for you if needed. The sessions will be led by Mark and Carol Rathe who are visiting Dublin from Filmore, California. Mark is the pastor of a church there and he and his wife, Carol, lead marriage weekend retreats for couples at their church each year. Some of us from The Journey spent time with Mark and Carol when we were in the US last summer and we invited them to help us run a similar type seminar next time they came to Ireland. We'd love to have you join us.

2.
Celebration Day - Sunday, Sept. 17th 2006. We will be gathering at Urban Junction (map) for a time of worship, teaching and eating (not necessarily in that order). We'll be meeting/eating from 6-8:30pm and will be blessed with a trad session for those who want to stay a bit longer. There will be an activity for the kids as well as a creche. Come along if you can.

3.
Inaugural CS Lewis Lecture - Monday, Sept. 18th 2006. Join those of us attending this session with Michael Schluter entitled "Mere Christianity: A Private Matter?" The event is being organized by the Evangelical Alliance Ireland (EAI) and will be held at Buswells Hotel, Molesworth Street. From the website:
Michael worked as a consultant economist with the International Food Policy Research Institute and the World Bank in East Africa for six years, after completing a PhD in agricultural economics at Cornell University. In 1982, he established the Jubilee Centre (a Christian think tank focusing on social and economic issues) followed by work on reconciliation in South Africa. He established the Relationships Foundation in 1994, being Chief Executive until becoming Chairman in November 2000. Michael has co-authored The R Factor (1993), The R Option (2003) and contributed to Relational Justice (1994), Building a Relational Society: New priorities for public policy (1996), Christian Perspectives on Law and Relationism (2000) and Christianity in a Changing World (2000). He now has special responsibilities for developing and communicating the Foundation's core message.
The cost for the night is only €10 (payable on the night). Please email EAI and tell them if you plan to be there.

25 August, 2006

They Keep Stealing our Name!

Saw another church community with a great name: The Journey. They seem to be slightly more tech savvy. Their site reminds me that this blog needs a face lift.

13 August, 2006

Serving the City



We were delighted to support the Serve the City initiative which was introduced to Dublin this year and led by our friends Alan & Sheryl McElwee. Visiting teams from the US were joined by local volunteers to undertake various d.i.y. projects around Dublin. In all, about 50 volunteers took part. Projects included lots of painting - inside and outside, flooring an attic, putting up shelving, gardening and playing music in a nursing home. Volunteers gathered each day for 1 week to serve and show loving kindness to those who are not in a position to do these jobs for themselves - disabled people, single mums, the poor and the sick.



What a great opportunity to let people know that we care and to serve others as Jesus would have done. As volunteers, we were blessed by those who served alongside us, by hearing the stories of those whom we served and by bringing some joy into their lives. We are looking forward to serving some of these people again and we will also be looking for more serving opportunities in our communities in the weeks and months ahead.

Why not join us on one of these projects or let us know about a project you think we could help with or simply pray for us and for those we are serving. Thanks.
Cormac

12 July, 2006

New Mike Frost Book

Thought all would like to know that Mike Frost has a new book coming out in about a month: Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture. According to the Amazon.com blurb Frost essentially tries to put forth a worldview for those living in a missional manner. Should be a fun read.

HT: Bob Hyatt.

10 July, 2006

The Festival They're All Talking About

Just wanted to let everyone know about Greenbelt, even if you can't attend. Mark it in your calendars for Aug. 25th-28th.

Matt

20 June, 2006

Gathering Together

A few Christian communities in the Dublin area gathered together last Sunday for some worship and fellowship. Here's a photo of the day:
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14 June, 2006

Ireland to Kenya on a blog

Just wanted to let you all know that you can keep up to date on how the City Gates mission trip is going on their blog.

Summer Reading

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Andrew Jones has put up a list of books that he feels are essential reading for those in and thinking through emerging forms of church. If you're looking for some summer reading, check Andrew's post out.

11 June, 2006

Andrew Journeys Home

We had a great time with Andrew again this morning. He led us through Luke 8-9 (apt, seeing as we looked at Luke 10 as a model for mission in Ireland on Saturday). Great insights. It was a great ending to a fun and thought provoking weekend. The whole weekend was very unstructured in format, allowing for a multitude of questions and conversations. The hostel worked out great, the food was wonderful and Phil cooked up some great chicken wings on Saturday night. Good times. Below are some pics of our time together. We look forward to the next one.

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08 June, 2006

Andrew Jones Itinerary

THE WEEKEND PLAN (so far)

Friday 9 June

For those who can come earlier on Friday:

Try to get to Glendalough as soon as we can (leave Dublin 11ish), lunch on the way or at Glendalough Hotel. We’ll try to walk the monastic site and lake walks together and have some time with AJ. This is for anyone who can make it up that early.

Everyone else should try to arrive by 6. Settle in at the hostel (details below).

Dinner 7ish at the local pub

After dinner and till Saturday mid-afternoon, we are under
AJ's tutelage. This means we will engage with several pertinent questions about church planting, ecclesiology, the Irish cultural and spiritual scene, and whatever else, during this time. Andrew is adept at leading groups like this with no pre-ordained agenda, so this will, we suspect, be his forte. Phil has a list of questions that have been pre-submitted: we'll look them over then tweak them. The tweaked questions will likely provide a starting place for our discussions.

IMPORTANT: What’s are the key questions you would love to see addressed over these days???

Bring them along with you and we’ll try to make sure they get raised.

Overnight at Glendalough International Youth Hostel

We’ve got rooms reserved for 17 (2 six person rooms; 1 five person. All ensuite).
Cost is €22.50 per person. Breakfast €6

Glendalough International Youth Hostel
The Lodge
Glendalough
Wicklow
Phone: 0404 45690

Past the Glendalough Hotel and the Monastic Site gates; on the left before you reach the first lake. http://www.anoige.ie/directory/wicklow

Saturday, 10 June

Breakfast at Hostel / (€6 for the full Irish Breakfast..)

Time with Andrew and each other. Breaking for lunch; then on till mid-afternoon finish and departure.

7:00pm Saturday evening
There’s an open gathering at Phil and Cheryl's place (in Shankill) for pizza, chat, and a chance for all to interact with AJ. May let him speak or do a Q and A time.

This is open to any interested parties who either were or were not at Glendalough with us.

Sunday AM, 11 June / @ Journey in Blackrock

9 or 9.30 AM gather at Nyquist's for the customary Journey Sunday Brunch, some worship time and a teaching time.
We'll ask AJ to teach us from the Word that day. Also open to any interested parties.

Usual time for kids with Matt and Hailey after our gathering.

Surf Trip Update

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We had a great time on the West coast of Ireland for The Journey Surf Trip in Lahinch. I was once again reminded about how cool these lads are. It's always amazing to be hanging out in Clare but feeling like we'd flown to Tenerife. It was hot enough to make you want to get in the water to cool down and once you did you found that it was actually quite pleasant. Great conversations, great food (thanks Hailey) and great company made up for the poor surf. Almost all the guys got up on a board on the first day but the second and third days didn't have enough push. Also, just let me say, I've never seen so many teens covered head to toe by so much shaving foam. I have no idea what the woman at Centra was doing selling 10+ cans of shaving foam to a bunch of students with nothing more than peach-fuzz to show a need for them. But she did it and a foamy mayhem ensued.

Brian McLaren in Ireland

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We never posted anything about our day with Brian McLaren. So let me do that now. He was in Ireland to speak with about 90 of us on the issue of church in a changing paradigm/age. As we read and prepared for his visit it became apparent that a lot of what he's proposing is really applicable to the situation here in Ireland. His talk didn't dissapoint. Let me explain.

McLaren noted that throughout history the forms of church have been in constant change, like a dance with their culture but that there are certain periods in which a huge change takes place (I think he noted Constantine's proclamation of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire and the Reformation in the 1500s as two major examples of this). He used the analogy of creating an omelet - the egg is liquid, getting warmer (small changes throughout history) but all of a sudden a huge change occurs in an instant as the egg becomes solid.
McLaren's talk really resonated with the Irish leaders present, especially when Ireland's recent history was taken into consideration. Sean Mullan - president of Evangelical Alliance Ireland - noted how Ireland was very much pre-modern in the sense that truth was imparted from the Pope in a hierarchical fashion up until around 1980 (Pope John Paul II visited Ireland in 1979). The Modern period in Ireland was actually very brief and the country found itself thrust into the post-modern/emerging period very quickly (a quick liquid-turning-to-omelet change). Much of this was due to the Celtic Tiger, increasing the economic prosperity of Ireland and seeing new cultures actually immigrating into Ireland (Ireland had a long history of emigration prior to the mid 1990s - indeed, I've been told that there are more Irish passports in USA than American). So, when McLaren started to point out some of the transitory changes that the church in Ireland might find/is finding itself taking, people in the room really seemed to resonate with the ideas. We were encouraged and challenged. I hope a lot of the conversations he got going/moved on will be furthered during Andrew Jones' visit.

Brad has put up the mp3s of Brian Mclaren over at EmergentIreland.com. Brad also included the powerpoints from the session. Enjoy.

Matt

06 June, 2006

John Ortberg goes iTunes

OK, I'm way behind on this but just to let you all know that you can now download/subscribe to a podcast of John Ortberg's church: Menlo Park Presbyterian.

HT: Menlo Park Podcast

Matt

02 June, 2006

Communication

Just thought I'd mention that you can contact us at journeycommunity at gmail dot com if you need to.

Journey Through the Summer

Well, we have been doing a horrible job keeping this blog updated. But we haven't given up. Here's what's going on over the next month:

June 3rd-5th Surf Trip Beach Excursion to Lahinch. It seems the surf is non-existant at the moment. No matter. We'll have a laugh over there.

June 9th-10th Andrew Jones will be leading a group of us through a time of discussion/dreaming/vision about how the church in Ireland could look. It will be great to bounce ideas from the McLaren event and other readings with each other and with a tall skinny kiwi. Let us know if you'd like to join us for the weekend. We'll be in

June 18th - Journey Gathering. Location TBA. A few groups will be getting together to worship.

June 24th - For those reading Pete Rollins' new book, he'll be down on Dawson st. to chat about it. (check out Emergent Ireland for more info)

There will also be some pilgrim walks later in the Summer that we'll keep you updated on.

Any other events we should be aware of. Let us know.

Matt

17 May, 2006

Church as Service

Hailey and I are big fans of the TV show King of the Hill. When I was in college, Hailey would get home, turn on the telly and watch her 3:30 episode every day. We often said that what we appreciated about the humor was its ability to give insight while keeping you laughing. I was shown a recent episode of the Hills looking for a new church and it reminded me of the dangers of viewing church as service. Often times we get into the habit of seeing church as a product - "what can this church offer me?" we think. The reality is that church is the opportunity for service. Let me know what you think of the clip.

Da Vinci Code on the Late Late Show

If you missed the discussion on the Da Vinci Code on the Late Late Show last Sat. night, you can watch it for the next few days on the RTE web site, see http://www.rte.ie/tv/latelate/

A couple of hundred thousand Irish people would have watched it! Have a look at what they saw and listen to the arguments they heard.

God bless,
Matt (for Cormac)

07 May, 2006

Surf Trip Update

We have moved the dates of the Surf Trip to June 3rd-5th. This is to accommodate for our get together with Andrew Jones June 8th-9th (location still pending). I will have brochures available for the surf trip on Wednesday. It looks like we will have enough leaders for the trip. We are still sorting out rental issues and lessons.

One huge need: We are looking for a driver. We have been offered the use of a 15 passenger van. This would be ideal not only for transporting teens down there, but for transporting equipment. However, we need a driver who is licensed to drive such a van. Let me know if you know of anyone who is both qualified and willing.

Matt

05 May, 2006

Dancing Evangelism

In preparation for his upcoming visit, I've been reading some of Brian McLaren's writings. I'm in the middle of "A New Kind of Christian" at the moment. The book reminds me of works like Plato's Phaedrus that I studied in Rhetorical Theory back in College. Just as the Phaedrus uses dialogue between characters to discuss issues of the gods, philosophy, rhetoric and art, so McLaren addresses issues of being a Christian in a changing age through the lens of a story, or perhaps the journey, of two men. Dan and Neo (silly name, I know). The benefit of this method is that concepts and ideas are not left without context. The issues become practical rather than disembodied ideas. As I've been reading I've been marking areas in the book that challenged me and left me thinking ("thinking" in the sense that I wonder off in my brain for about 5 minutes contemplating a phrase, then snapping out of it, telling myself I'm never going to finish this book if I keep doing this). I thought I'd share one of those areas in the text. Neo and Dan are on a walk in nature, Dan is a pastor who is ready to leave the pastorate. Neo is a teacher in a local secondary school, helping Dan think through some of his reasons for leaving. At one point the topic of evangelism comes up. I love what Neo says:

"Instead of conquest, instead of a coercive rational argument or an emotionally intimidating sales pitch or an imposing crusade or an aggressive debating contest where we hope to 'win' them to Christ, I think of it like a dance. You know, in a dance, nobody wins and nobody loses, Both parties listen to the music and try to move with it. In this case, I hear the music of the gospel, and my friend doesn't, so I try to help him hear it and move with it. And like a dance, I have to ask if the other person wants to participate. There's a term for pulling someone who doesn't want to dance into a dance: assault. But if you pull someone in who wants to learn, and if you're good with the music yourself, it can be a lot of fun!" (p.62)
I love the idea of evangelism as providing opportunities for participation.

30 April, 2006

The Struggle of Downfall

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This past year has been a dismal year of film watching for me. I was spoiled in California by Blockbuster's "watch as much as you want for $20 a month deal" and a father in law who loves a rainy day schedule of movie watching (Sean - may we always be "film dudes"). I must have watched about 2-3 movies a week back then. When we moved to Ireland cheap movie viewing became a thing of the past. My list of "movies to watch" was growing while my "movies watched list" remained stagnant. So, upon returning to Ireland I have decided to change all that and have signed up for screenclick - an online DVD renting company. I'm in my first-month-free trial period and so far so good. I just sent back my first two DVDs. Here's hoping that the notoriously slow Irish postal service doesn't ambush any possibility of watching more than 4 DVDs a month (the bare minimum one would have to watch to justify the cost of the monthly service).

One of the movies we rented and watched was Downfall - a German movie chronicling the final days of Adolf Hitler's life and the lives of those around him in his bunker and in Berlin. It was a hard movie to watch - very graphic. One of the hardest scenes to watch (and fathom) was that of Joseph Goebbels and his wife systematically killing their six children because "a world without National Socialism was not a world worth living in." The thought kept us awake late into the hours and the conversation quickly turned us to the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis. Why would a loving God ever ask a parent to do such a thing? Hailey and I sat in bed a wrestled with the text, tried to imagine what Abraham was thinking - did he presume God would stop him? - what Isaac was thinking, what God was thinking? What was God thinking? I mean, would I even trust it to be the word of God if I was asked to do such a heinous act? Oh how the relationship between Abraham and Isaac must have changed in the process. I wonder how long it must have been before they even talked to one another again?

The more we discussed the more unsettled we became. There was no way we were going to sleep even though it was late. We were sitting up in bed running through different scenarios. In verse 5 he notes that both he and the boy would return to the servant but did Isaac hear this? Was it said to calm the servant? Was it a sign of Abraham's belief that God would not let him kill his son?

Slowly but surely as we struggled with the account in the Scriptures and with each other's interpretations, parts of the story began to make sense for us. Indeed, the story of Abraham and Isaac quickly distanced itself from the horror of the Goebbels' murders which had sparked the discussion. In fact, by the end of the night our wrestling with God had left us more in love with him.

First off, Abraham was a man who had spoken with the Lord and knew his voice (cf. Gen. 15; 17; 18:16ff). Indeed, he had wrestled with God on many occassions. However, Abraham was particularly aware that he had in an act of disobedience and disbelief tried to have an heir through Hagar, his wife's servant (cf. Gen. 16) in an attempt to accomplish God's promises in ways outside how they'd been promised. It was an act of defiance that came from Abraham's very soul. Thus, when Isaac was born, Abraham's faith needed to be reborn lest his faith be in his son. So, as Hailey and I struggled through the text we presumed that Abraham must have been in agony and in torment over what he should do. But Abraham knew why God had asked him to kill Isaac. It wasn't as though this request was put to just anyone. Isaac was the future of God's covenant with Abraham. Isaac was thus also central to Abraham's relationship with God. Abraham's hope was in Isaac, not in God and thus the relationship needed to be restored. But going through the act of attempting to kill your own son must have been tortuous. And yet, it was going through the act that was required. Just as it had been a full-bodied act of disbelief with Hagar, so it also had to be a full-bodied act of belief in obeying God's command. It wouldn't have done for Abraham to just say "I believe in you God, sorry I doubted you." No, he had to engage his belief in the physical act of following God. The two - belief and act - cannot be separated. What we do is what we believe.
Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. 12 "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son" (Gen. 22:10-12).
Oh, how sweet those words must have been to hear those words. Abraham's hope was back in God not in his son, and in giving up his son, Abraham found out what it was like to actually receive his son as a gift from God.

As Hailey and I finished our wrestling session with God, we sat there having fallen more in love with God. We began to discuss the similarities between this story and the story of the Father sending his own Son to die on a mountain (let me just say that there are many similarities) when all of a sudden Eoin started to cry and it was a race to see who could hug our very own gift from God first.

16 April, 2006

He is risen! Says who?

Here is a list of post resurrection appearances of Jesus in the Bible.

He appeared
  • to Mary Magdalene, in John 20:10-18

  • to the other women, in Matthew 28:8-10

  • to Cleopas and another disciple on the road to Emmaus, in Luke 24:13-32

  • to eleven disciples and others, in Luke 24:33-49

  • to ten apostles and others, with Thomas absent, in John 20:19-23

  • to Thomas and the other apostles, in John 20:26-30

  • to seven apostles, in John 21:1-14

  • to the disciples, in Matthew 28:16-20

  • to Peter and then to all twelve apostles, in 1 Corinthians 15:5

  • to five hundred people at once, in 1 Corinthians 15:6

  • to James and all the apostles, in 1 Corinthians 15:7

  • to Paul, in Acts 9:5, 1 Corinthians 9:1 and 1 Corinthians 15:8

  • And He was with the apostles at the Mount of Olives before His ascension, in Luke 24:50-52 and Acts 1:4-9


(taken from The Case For Easter by Lee Strobel (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI; 1998, 2003)

15 April, 2006

Easter Morning on Sandymount Strand

On Easter Sunday morning The Journey community are planning to gather at a Sonrise service at 6am on Sandymount Strand. Afterwards we are all invited back to Cormac MacF's place for breakfast. Come and join us if you can.

We will be celebrating the fact that Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, is risen, having suffered and died as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of all mankind - and that includes you and me. He conquered death and offers eternal life with God to all who believe this good news and who put their trust in Him alone.

Churches from different traditions in the surrounding areas regularly participate in the Sonrise Service. It is also traditional for those churches who use a Paschal or Easter candle to bring their new candles and light them from the fire which is lit on the beach. This symbolises that just as Jesus is the one light for all, so the light which is brought to the different churches, originates from the one flame, shared by all.

05 April, 2006

Surf Trip June 2006

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I am in the middle of planning a surf trip for this summer for teens in the area. A lot of lads who joined us for the snowboard week are showing interest in coming to this. We are in need of a few things. 1. Some surfers/leaders. Right now only myself is committed to coming. We will definitely be needing more and it would be great if those leaders could surf. I'm looking into some possibilities over in California while I'm here. 2. Could we start bathing the week in prayer? The dates are tentatively June 8th-12th. Please pray for safety for those coming and that the heart of Christ would be expressed throughout the time there.

Brian McLaren Speaking

For those of you who have registered for the Day with Brian McLaren, you need to get your €20 registration fee in to Brad Anderson because it is well past due. He is threatening to give away reserved spots to people on the waiting list so I guess this means that if you aren't on the waiting list and would like to go, this might be a good time to get on it. Info over at Emergent Ireland.

Also, those going should be in the middle of reading some McLaren works. Brad has put together a good list with both offline and online resources. Hey, even if you're not going, enjoy the reading.

Matt

31 March, 2006

Singer Songwriting Workshop

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Just wanted to let everyone know of a Singer/Songwriter Workshop in Culturlann na hEireann, 32 Belgrave Sq. Monkstown, Co. Dublin on Monday 10th April from 7:30pm 'till 10pm. Wish I could be there to learn a thing or two. Let me know how it goes if you go.

23 March, 2006

Learning About Blackrock

Just saw that Wikipedia has a great article on Blackrock. Read it when you get the chance. There might be something in there that you didn't know about our little town.

22 March, 2006

Free Blog Editor

I'm still an Ecto man myself but it ain't free, you have to cough up about 16 Euros to get your hands on it but I just came across a different blog editor that some of you may want to try. Oh ya, and it's free. It is called Qumana and is available for both PC and Mac. Qumana is a free blog publishing application that offers you the ability to create posts on your desktop like you would use Outlook for mail. Qumana helps writers quickly capture, organize and edit chunks of content. Users drag-and-drop pieces of text, links, pictures or images. Then, with one click you can add Technorati tags. Edit and publish the blog post … to as many blogs as you wish … or save it as a draft to work on later. Turn your content into a draft Word document by saving it as HTML or RTF and opening the file in Word. If you want to get into blogging, here is an easy and free way to get there.

Matt

17 March, 2006

Worship

I've spoken to a few who desire more worship at the Journey. I agree and that's why I really liked Ryan Bolger's latest post on the subject: Emerging Worship is about Who Gets to Play. Emerging worship is not about being artsy or making sure you have candles, it is about creating space for individuals to praise and cry out to God without feeling they have to go through anyone (like a priest or worship leader).

What is the Gospel?

Considering my last post, I thought it wise to point out one of my favourite articles Scot McKnight has done on the subject of the gospel, aptly titled What is the Gospel? He elaborates on the idea that the gospel can't simply be simple.

Matt

12 March, 2006

When Has Someone Heard The Gospel?

Maybe this is a silly question but it is one that I have been thinking about for the last few days. On Thursday before we met to discuss Patrick, Karl had me do a quick video interview with Cormac. The question he was asked: when did you first hear the gospel? Although he grew up Catholic, knowing and hearing much of Scripture and having godly parents, he said it wasn't until much later in his adult life that he really understood the gospel. He had the chance to ask some tough questions, get clarifications and then decided he wanted to live life like Christ through the power of the Spirit.

I had asked this same question about a month ago when I was reading Alleluia America!: An Irish Journalist in Bush Country by Calole Coleman about a month or so ago. Carole was the Washington correspondent for RTE from 2000 to 2004. She noted that after George W. Bush's re-election, pollsters declared the vote was swung by moral values and the Republican's courting of religious America. Carole decided to explore those groups and States that voted red in the last election and see for herself just who re-elected Bush. The book is an account of those interviews and experiences and is a good read.

At one point she interviews an Evangelical from a Baptist church in Monroe, Georgia. She had arranged to meet Stephen, the preacher's son on a Friday night when a gospel concert was going on at the church. They spoke for a bit about gospel music but then moved on to Stephen's testimony...
"When I was five years old I accepted Jesus Christ as my saviour and from that time everything pointed me in the direction to serve in a ministry," he told me. I didn't know children needed to be saved or born again, but here in Georgia it is not unusual.

"Yes. It happens at different ages for different people. You have to realise you are a sinner... God's word tells us that the penalty for sin is death, and death is hell, so there is no way out but through Jesus Christ. Some people see it at a young age, others never do. At five years old I heard this and I realised I didn't have a way to heaven except through Christ. So I accepted him as my saviour. That is, 'born again', saved - same thing."

The idea of being born again is not new. It dates back to the Bible itself. In John 3:3, Jesus mentions the idea to Nicodemus, who is startled and wonders if Jesus is asking him to get back into his mother's womb. But Jesus explains that he is talking about entering into a relationship with God, through faith. Virtually all Americans who say they are evangelical claim to have been saved. Millions who are not evangelical or part of the Christian right also claim to be "born again" or to have experienced a spiritual conversion. "Except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God." This one line from the Bible convinces evangelicals that no matter how much money a man gives to charity or what good work he does, if he doesn't accept Christ as his personal saviour, he has no hope of making it to the next life. President Bush claims to have been born again in his early forties"
(p.44-45).
I read this and the thought crossed my mind that here is a journalist who has essentially written down the four spiritual laws via Stephen's testimony and yet I'm not convinced has encountered the gospel. She is aware of who Jesus is, again growing up Catholic and being taught by nuns in school but for Carole, as she expresses in her book, her faith is something deeply personal and familial, perhaps even national but not necessarily based in her understanding of Scripture or in a relationship with Jesus Christ. And how could it be? I mean she heard the four spiritual laws straight up: But the message "God loves her - She is a sinner - God has paid the price for her sins - She must accept it personally" doesn't make much sense to anyone who can't relate to it. I know there are some who hear that presentation and it resonates with them, with how they have been experiencing the world, with how they perceive themselves, with how they perceive God but usually they have some experience in their lives that allows them to do so. Many do not. If they cannot relate to the gospel, how can they really understand it? How can it have any meaning in their lives?

Is it possible to hear, grasp, and encounter the gospel but still reject it? I mean could Carole by all means really get it and just not want anything to do with it? Yep. She could. But our aim in presenting the gospel (and I don't mean just by words but by actions too - the gospel is much bigger than the four spiritual laws) only occurs when it is done in a way that it can be understood. I think that the four spiritual laws method often falls on deaf ears, even ears that can reproduce the main points word for word back to you. When has someone heard the gospel? When they have experienced it. When it is not simply a bunch of nice ideas, or a good way to live, but when someone shows up at your door to help you clean your house when you're sick, or when someone sits and lets you just vent and doesn't try to give you advice, or when a friend shares about how God has shaped their life. This is the reason I believe relationships are so important in missions (and by missions I don't mean going any farther than next door). If we have no relationship with people, with a culture, then how can we present the gospel to them?

So here's to presenting the gospel of love in our community. May it be heard.

Lessons From Patrick

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For those who missed it we had a great meeting last Thurs. night learning about the life of St. Patrick and reading his few but insightful works. I must say, the time really was both educational and inspiring for me. After some chat, tea & bickies we sat down to watch the first half of Patrick, a documentary about the Saint, looking at his background, his culture, his struggles and achievements. It allowed us to see through the fairy-tale version of Patrick - the Patrick who cast snakes out of Ireland, who wore funny hats, had a funny staff and had a glowing halo, the Patrick who makes sense to have in a Paddy's Day parade. The DVD not only brought the readings to life for me, but brought the individual to life.

So, what did I/we learn?

Patrick grew up a Roman citizen in Wales, part of a very affluent family. His father was a deacon and his grandfather a priest but in his early years he admits the faith really meant little to him. He was about 16 when Irish slave traders kidnapped and sold him in Ireland. At that time Ireland was not part of the Roman Empire. Ireland was a land of waring tribes and its unwelcoming ports and rocky shores made it hard to invade (the town of Blackrock is famous for many of its early shipwrecks on its own rocky shores). Thus, when Patrick arrived on the beaches of Ireland, making his way up to the Northwest of the country (Co. Antrim), he knew there was no return, that there was no way his family would come and get him and that he'd probably spend the rest of his life as a slave. His owners put him to work minding sheep which gave him tons of time to do some deep soul-searching and it was in these times he remembered the faith passed down to him from his family. He states that in these times his love and fear of the Lord grew. He came to the point in his relationship with God that he was praying, "from one up to a hundred prayers, and in the night a like number."

In times of solitude you learn not only to speak to God, you learn to listen. After six years of slavery he heard a voice telling him to flee and so he made his way across the island believing that a ship would be at the end of his journey, ready to take him back to Britain. I write this rather easily but for Patrick, this was a life-and-death decision. To flee as a slave was to commit a crime punishable by death. What's more anyone abetting an escaping slave through shelter, food, or travel was deserving of the same sentence. So even here, young Patrick find's himself dependent solely on God for his survival. Most likely only traveling at night, Patrick finally arrived at the Southwest coast of Ireland and found a ship there waiting for him. He begged it's owners to let him aboard but they denied him. Rejected, he again turned to God in prayer and began to leave when suddenly the men started shouting after him to come back and get in the ship.
He wasn't home long before he heard the call to return to Ireland. He devoted himself to study in the church and once in his thirties finally returned to Ireland as one of its first missionaries. He was preceded by Palladius who had fled Ireland after receiving severe opposition from a Wicklow chieftain. But Patrick was a different kind of missionary. He knew the Irish culture - could speak the language, knew the customs and etiquette and knew the Druidism, so prevalent in the country. For example, Patrick knew the gift culture of Ireland and quickly went to the king of the area and gave gifts, asking for permission to be there. Patrick was able to speak to the Irish in their native tongue, presenting the gospel in ways that they could understand. Their pagan religion taught that lakes were holy places. Patrick saw this as a connecting point with the Irish people, inviting them there to be baptized. This unorthodox approach to missions brought forth claims of unorthodox teaching, which is why Patrick wrote his confession, to make sure his brothers could see his intentions and his heart.

We're only half way through the DVD (will be finishing it next Thurs. night if you want to join us) but a few main ideas were discussed last Thursday night and I've added a few more questions I've been pondering since then:

1. God chooses the unlikely. Looking at Patrick from a conventional standpoint you'd assume that he'd have been better off if at the age of 16 he evaded the kidnappers and finished out his years in Wales (or wherever seeing as the Roman-Empire was coming to an end at this stage many families were moving throughout Europe). The reality is, God ended up using an unbelieving boy-come-slave to express God's love to a Nation. Patrick wouldn't have been the obvious choice to return to Ireland. Even after schooling, Patrick was quick to note that he didn't have the eloquence of many of his peers who probably seemed like much more likely candidates but God had uniquely trained Patrick to uniquely minister to the Irish. Have you ever had one of your perceived weaknesses become a strength? How about your perceived strengths, have they ever proven to be weaknesses? How is God using your life-experiences to encourage others?

2. He was Christ-like in mission. His experiences in the culture as a teen had allowed him to communicate the gospel to the Irish in a way that made sense to them. Just as Christ came to humanity, speaking in terms we could grasp, so Patrick looked to the Irish culture for ways to express the gospel. The reality was that the gospel was already in Ireland. Christ had (and has) already died for the Irish. Patrick looked for the means available within the culture to express this ultimate reality to the Irish. What means are available to us today? Do we view the gospel as an import rather than something Irish?

3. Patrick had to defend his actions to the majority of his Christian contemporaries and the Church as an institution in general. His whole reason for writing the "Confessio" of St. Patrick was to defend himself against assertions that he was unorthodox: "6 I am imperfect in many things, nevertheless I want my brethren and kinsfolk to know my nature so that they may be able to perceive my soul's desire." How much of our orthodoxy is dictated by our Irish culture, by the Christian sub-culture?

For Further Study of St. Patrick:
The Catholic Encyclopedia on St. Patrick
Wikipedia Article on St. Patrick
The Confession of St. Patrick
A Letter to Coroticus (PDF)
Patrick (DVD)

10 March, 2006

Irish Blog Awards

Next Saturday Ireland will be hosting its annual blog awards. I was skimming through the list of nominees and have enjoyed myself in the process - many funny, many insightful. The blog awards are on at 6:40pm this coming Saturday at the Alexander Hotel in Dublin. It costs you 5 Euros to get in the door but you might win one of the few door prizes in the process. Should be a good night and a great way to connect with the blogging world of Ireland.

Matt

Update: I missed going (I actually thought it was next Saturday for some reason). Pity but someone has put a video of the evening online if you would like to check it out go here.

08 March, 2006

Patrick

Thurs. night we will be studying the writings of St. Patrick over at Cormac & Karen's home. We start at 8:30pm. Email us at journeycommunity@gmail.com for directions.

04 March, 2006

Ryan Bolger Interview

Found this interview with blogger, professor of Fuller Seminary, and co-author of Emerging Churches Ryan Bolger on KPCC. He gives a quick overview of what he's found in the physical structure of Emerging Churches and their theological differences from mainstream American evangelicalism.

03 March, 2006

Return From Absence

Hey everyone, we're back (well, sort of - I'm sick). I'm sure you've all heard through Cormac about just how amazing the snowboarding trip was. We really had a great time meeting the lads. They had me laughing harder than I have in years. Just a great bunch of teens. A few of us even learned to snowboard on the trip (imagine that!). Each day Cormac invested in further safety, from helmet to butt pads, he was one mean-snowbaording-machine. We only had one serious injury but it turned out to be only a severe sprain and Paddy was back on his snowboard a few days later. I think the teens probably caught on to the whole snowboarding thing quicker than the rest of us because they all had one thing going for them: no fear. The rest of us were all aware that a broken bone here would mean our wives would kill us when we got home!

I've also been thinking about how we could use this blog more and one of my thoughts was to highlight books that we are reading, would like to read, are intending to read, or just want to mention. To start us off, let me mention this book I saw: Shaped by God’s Heart – the passion and practices of Missional Churches by Milfred Minatrea. Alan Hirsh recommended it to Phil Mcredden, so I thought I'd highlight it here. I know Dad is also well into Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures and has a post about it here. Any other books?

Matt

05 February, 2006

James in The Journey

We have been reading through James as a community and it has been a great experience. But the fear in reading James is that it simply remains that - a fun experience. If nothing changes in our lives then reading James must be a scary experience. James is pretty clear that faith is a physical act. And so I was happy to find this post. In it the author (Weekend Fisher) notes 10 places Christians should visit:

  1. Your family members (I Timothy 5:8).
  2. Your neighbors (Luke 10:27).
  3. The person you always say Hi to at church, and think someday you should call (Acts 2:42).
  4. The foreigner that works at the corner store (Exodus 23:9)
  5. A nearby soup kitchen or food pantry (Matthew 25:35)
  6. A social outcast that you know (Luke 7:34)
  7. A nearby hospital or shut-in (Matthew 25:36)
  8. The breakdown lane of the highway (Luke 10:33)
  9. The old friend you lost touch with years ago (Proverbs 18:24)
  10. The person you're avoiding who holds a grudge against you (Matthew 5:23-24)
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." (James 1:22)

04 February, 2006

Cleaning up the Park

The Journey will be meeting tomorrow @11:30 to pick up some trash at Blackrock Park. Come on by and bring a trash bag. We would love to have you join us.

01 February, 2006

The History of the Emerging-Missional Church

Ever wonder where all this Emerging-Missional talk came from? Well Andrew Jones took a stab at answering that question. Enjoy a quick history lesson. I like his conclusion:

The term, "emerging-missional church", favored by Australians and Kiwis, seems to tie together the two strands of missio dei and missio ecclesiae in one phrase. Without the missional, emergent is just style. Without the emergent, missional pours the new wine backwards into old containers, and often without regard to context.
Matt

Prayer & Financial Support for Winter Camp

Had a great time tonight on the artificial slope in Kilternan, learning to snowboard with 12 other guys who are coming on The Journey's winter snowboarding camp. Only 12 days to go before we leave. Still many loose ends to be tied up but in general, everything seems to be coming together pretty well, thank God.

Please pray for Matt, Steve, Patrick and Omar who are leading the trip with me. Please also pray for all the guys who are coming on the camp. Pray that the snowboarding will be fantastic, that there will be no serious injuries, that we will have a fun time together and that our evening discussions will help the guys to think differently about Christianity.

Any donations towards the cost of the camp would be gratefully received. The Journey is looking for sponsors to help subsidise the cost of the week and make it as affordable as possible. You can contact us about sponsorship at the following email address: journeycommunity@gmail.com

Thanks for your support.

Cormac

Snowboarding in Dublin

Just got back from another great night of lessons. Cormac will be a boarder yet! The lads had a great time and I think it got us all excited for the trip to France in the coming weeks. I am wrecked. Please continue to pray for the trip, for safety and that we (the leaders - Cormac, Omar, Peter, Steve and me) would be able to be Christ to these teens.

Matt

29 January, 2006

The Power of Ecto

Rich-Edit

For those that didn't already know, I recently had my hard drive crash. Bummer? Yes. Luckily I had my wife's PC to play around with while my Mac was in the shop. But what the PC doesn't have is a great application I use for blogging called Ecto. Ecto is kinda like Microsoft Outlook for blogs. You can manage and create your posts offline, it gives you more control over photos and makes linking a snap. But most of all it makes posting easy. You never have to log in again. You simply type what you have to say and post it. It automatically spell-checks everything, AND it handles all of your html needs. Ecto helps reduce my excuses for not blogging, and for that I'm thankful. Best 16 Euros I've spent online. So, if you're thinking of getting into this blogging thing, get Ecto.

Matt

23 January, 2006

Field Trip To Ikon


I wanted to put the word out on the street about a field trip up to Ikon on the 26th of Feb. Ikon is a community in Belfast exploring what it means to be "emerging." They meet once a month at Whites Tavern (see website for directions). The night starts at 6:30pm.

As those trying to figure out what it means to be missional in todays culture, I think there is a lot we could learn from this bunch.

Let me know if there is any interest out there. Would love to have a few conversation partners along for the ride.

Matt

Sunday Worship @ the National Gallery


This Sunday we will be heading over to the National Art Gallery for a time of community and reflection. Afterwards, weather permitting, we will go over to Merrion Square Park for a picnic. This is a bring your own lunch event but it would be great if we brought stuff to share as well. We are planning to gather at the gallery at 11:30am. Hope you can be there.

20 January, 2006

Frost on The Shaping of Things To Come

Had a great meeting with Roy and Scott today. Great guys doing some awesome things in Dublin. Roy pointed me to some Mike Frost lectures in which he goes through the main themes in his book. Download and listen to the mp3s when you get the chance.

19 January, 2006

Neil Cole on Church



Dad brought this to my attention:

From Neil Cole:
In our organic church movement we have come to understand "church" as this:

The presence of Jesus among His people called out as a spiritual family to pursue His mission on this planet.

Granted, this is very broad, but I like a broad definition of church. The Scriptures don’t give a precise definition, so I’m not going to do that which God has not done. I want something that captures what the Scriptures say about the Kingdom of God. In one of only two places where Jesus mentions church in the Gospels, He says: “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst." (Matt. 18:20) His presence must be an important element of church.

From The Organic Church page 83

18 January, 2006

12 January, 2006

New Calendar

Just wanted to point out the new calendar available on the sidebar under "Journey Stuff." Get in on the Journey action.

11 January, 2006

Getting Missional Online

Well I just read about this site called Favorville and decided to check it out. Essentially it is a place where people come to offer favours and seek favours. Guess what, they have a Dublin, Ireland location. After checking it out it seems to not be specific to Dublin, Ireland however. That said, the site is still in its beta phase and I'm sure they'll fix it. It's kinda like a craigslist for favours. Both of these sites rely on web-community for existence. I wonder what the possibilities are for missional movements within these (and other) sites?

The Missional Church

Thanks Dad, Andrew Jones and a host of others for highlighting this post by Larry Chouinard. He gives 16 Features of the Missional Church:

“A missional church is one whose primary commitment is to the missionary calling of the people of God. . . it is one that aligns itself with God’s missionary purposes in the world. . . The missional church is a sent church with one of its defining values [incarnating Jesus’ life and values in the culture it is embedded]”.
(Frost and Hirsch, The Shaping of Things to Come, p.229)

(1) A missional church is externally focused.
(2) A missional church is culturally engaged without being absorbed.
(3) A missional church is incarnationally not institutionally driven.
(4) A missional church is about discipleship not church membership.
(5) A missional church is patterned after God's missionary purpose in the world.
(6) A missional church seeks to establish Kingdom outposts to retake territory under the control of the Evil One.
(7) A missionary church seeks to plant,grow, and multiply missionary communities.
(8) A missionary church trains and equips new leaders to enter territories under seige by Dark Forces. We learn in the context of mission not in the security of our comfort zone.
(9) A missional church highlights character, virtue, and compassionate deeds as the most effective witness to God's Kingdom.
(10) A missional church connects to Jesus through mission not doctrinal precision.
(11) A missional church adopts an organizational structure and internal forms based on mission not ecclesiastical traditions.
(12) A missional church sees itself as organic and not in static institutional forms.
(13) A missional church pursues relationships across generational, ethnic, economic and cultural lines of distinctions.
(14) A missional church seeks to partner with the community to "seek the shalom" of the community.
(15) A missional church assembles to seek God's presence and to be realigned with God's missionary purpose.
(16) A missionary church seeks to reawaken a movement ethos as together we engage our cultural context.

07 January, 2006

Emerging Church Postcards

Steve Taylor over at Emergent Kiwi is in the process of putting together some Emerging Church Postcards - basically short snippets of emerging churches from all over the world. So far the countries include Germany, England, Malaysia, Australia and Denmark but more arrive every week.

Andrew Jones in Next Wave Magazine

Thought I'd point us over to Andew Jones' latest work for Next Wave Magazine. The Magazine is a great resource if you have never read it. OK, I'm off to take care of a screaming kid.

02 January, 2006

Plunging Into the New Year

Some of us awoke New Years day well aware that it would not be a relaxing morning. We had arranged a few weeks prior to take a dive into the freezing Irish Sea as a fund raiser for the snowboarding trip we're taking in Feb. In all the busyness of the holidays almost everyone forgot. But a few of us decided to follow through with the flopped fund-raiser and simply make some good memories. So we suited up early in the morning and took a dip in the ice cold water with the ice cold wind. It was so cold getting out that I couldn't feel my legs. Good times. Check out the pictures of the plunge.