not just another easter sunday

We sang all my favorite Easter hymns at church today. We celebrated, we listened to stories of changed lives, and we ate and drank in remembrance of Him. It was a special day for this, and, I admit, I cried through most of it. What can I say—I am my mother's daughter.

The rest of the day was spent experiencing a small piece of what heaven may be like: in community, gathered around a table with families and friends. It was brunch in Brooklyn with some of the sweetest people I know in this city. And after a short rest in the afternoon, that led straight into a potluck dinner at a wonderful neighbor friend's house, also with some of the sweetest people I know. It was a good, full day and for no reason that I actually deserve.

Those are the kind that make you most thankful.

an elevator pitch

This week I rode the elevator with Tim Keller. We were both going to the 11th floor, but it stopped on the 10th floor instead of our intended destination. Tim looked over at me, smiled, and said,

"All have fallen short."

my experience with Good Friday

With most of the churches I attended growing up, I never remember much emphasis on Good Friday. I hadn't been to Good Friday church services, but maybe it was talked about during the Easter season. Then, I moved to New York and my church had an entire Holy Week series of events. It was all new to me, but I jumped right in on the festivities. I remember the first year attending a Good Friday service on Friday night after work and thinking about what an incredible day it was. Dark and sad, yet light and joyous.

During my second Easter in New York I was talking with a coworker who admittedly put little to no value on christianity. He was a fashion designer who somehow ended up as an interiors intern at an architecture firm. But despite having a very low interest in christianity, he was always open to talking about it.

We would sometimes go to lunch together for udon and as we were talking about christianity, I pondered out loud, "I wonder why it's called good Friday if Jesus died on that day?" He looked straight at me and said, "because Jesus died to save the world from their sins on Good Friday."

Through the words of an unlikely source, I have never again wondered or forgotten what makes Good Friday so good.


This is happening tonight! And, I'm going! I'm pretty excited about hearing these two together, and especially on this topic: Race & the Christian. If you don't live in New York, but would like to check this out, you can watch it via the live stream, starting at 7pm eastern. This event was completely sold out only a few days after registration opened. I think there are a few New Yorkers who are pretty thrilled to see Piper and Keller live in tandem!

(And, I'm doubly excited because my mom is arriving today just in time to go to this event, too!)

"ask me a question"

Tonight was the second night of Redeemer's Open House for the new home of Redeemer West Side's congregation and building on W83rd Street. For those of you who don't live in New York, this is a pretty big deal. Not only is every inch of space you can barely-call-your-own extremely tee-niny anyway, it's rare to even be able to legitimately call a place your own (aka, own it). Redeemer's new very-own building that has been in the works for years and years is finally opening. There were open houses last night and tonight and the first church service(s) will be this Sunday!

I volunteered with the children's ministry to help people check in and get acquainted with the new very-hi-tech system for registering. (There is mostly sarcasm in that statement, but some seriousness. It's very hi-tech for Redeemer.) In return for our volunteer services, they kindly required that we wear these buttons as big as my face that said "Ask Me a Question!" Very lovely.

In Tim Keller's brief address to the congregation and guests tonight, he reminded us of the days when Redeemer met on Sunday afternoons in someone's apartment on East 73rd Street in 1989. In those days no one was talking of a superstar pastor of a church with 5,000+ attendees every week. This very blessed church sure has come a long way! Psalm 127:1 is mighty powerful.

[by the way, I took most of these pictures from Bethany!]

city wide worship

A few Fridays ago, Trinity Grace Church and some other churches in NYC hosted a city-wide praise event. This is a photo that was snapped and posted on Atlantic Cities from the final prayer of the evening. I became aware of this picture because I posted it on our new #TPFperspective photo blog yesterday (for The Park Forum, check it out!).

I can't stop looking at this photo. How powerful and beautiful. Seriously.

(and ps, can you find Brendan and me in the photo?!)

fiction book club

Last night was the first night of my new book study: fiction book club! I'm really excited because the impetus for starting this group was when my friend Bethany became an avid fan of Harry Potter this past summer. We were constantly discussing how well-written the books were with such undeniably present and strong gospel undertones. So that's exactly what this book club decided to explore: gospel IN fiction. We meet once a month, each month discussing a new fiction book and the presence of the gospel in that particular story. We started this month with Flannery O'Connor's short story "Revelation". (I actually didn't read it before group last night, oops, but I am so excited to catch up this weekend after hearing the discussion last night.) I wasn't a big fiction reader until a few years ago, and I now I can't get enough. I'm especially excited about hearing some of the older women in my group (like Kathy Keller) give their wisdom and insight on how to read fiction looking for the "good news" that is there!

Next month: Harry Potter!

meet the team

I mentioned something a couple weeks ago about a fundraiser I was helping to host. What I failed to mention was the reason we are going to Cape Town, and the fact that we are getting ready to leave in a mere 6 weeks! My friend Bethany, and mission teammate, posted a great description of our upcoming trip on her blog (along with these pictures I swiped). Through Redeemer, we are going to serve alongside Point Community Church in Cape Town and love their community in many different ways. Our schedule and itinerary aren't completely solidified yet, but I'm anxious and excited to see where this trip will lead us. For now, it's been a wonderfully fun time getting to know these 17 people with whom I'm about to embark on such a terrific adventure!

city to city

Last night I went to a Redeemer City to City event. I hadn't heard much about what the event was for when I received the invitation, but decided I would stop by since it was on my way home from work and since I'm going on a mission trip soon. Brendan and I went and we were both blown away and so moved by all that Redeemer has done through its original vision: create a gospel movement in the city and the movement will follow in other parts of the world and the country. They had "church planters" (aka, pastors) there from all over the world (Dubai, Singapore, Ireland, name only a few)  who have planted churches through Redeemer's support. It was truly moving to see how God is calling people to go to the far-reaches of the earth to spread the good news! Take a look at this quick video, you will be inspired and encouraged about what Redeemer and these churches are doing. (warning: you might cry, I did.)

Join the Movement from Redeemer City to City on Vimeo.

[ps- around minute 3:18, you will see Jacques who is the pastor at the church in Cape Town that we are going to serve with in November!]

a poem for new york

‘Tis a downturn in markets and all through New York
Wall Street is silent, champagne plugged with a cork.
The Jitney is empty, the hatches battened down
For no one knows what’s coming, we’re all wearing frowns.

And as we get nestled, all snug in our beds
Visions of history dance in our heads.
For all of us wonder, “Could this be our fate
That things could get worse than two thousand and eight?”

Yet there are more visions, more histories to know
Than bad situations and awful bad blows.
Thousands of years before we were here
God made a promise to David that removes empty fear.

He promised to make his throne last for all time
Sustain him, protect him and establish his line.
Doing good to him always, forgetting him not
Loving him forever, as a perfect Father ought.

And though David died, God’s promise lived on
To one of his heirs – a one and only Son.
For Jesus Himself was the king long-awaited
Who suffered and died and then rose unabated.

But what’s this got to do with the markets today?
We’re not in Jerusalem; we’ve got bills to pay!
Is His love still great? Does His promise still stand?
Can He still be faithful when the S & P’s bland?

In Christ, we inherit David’s promise from God
Of love and protection – even though we are flawed.
And His love is certain, His faithfulness sure
Through trials and troubles and trades without cure.

So with a loud voice, we will sing of His love
For it is established in the heavens above.
And He will not move even though we may doubt
Cause His promise to David will always win out.

[written by Bethany at The Park Forum in light of the recent economic meltdown and in reference to Psalm 89.]