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A Call To The City


Today I invited Pastor Nathan Ivey, founder of our Seed ministry, to tell you about one of the new things I’m most excited about in 2013: Sojourn Urban Experience:

In the summer of 2013, Sojourn will begin equipping the next generation of church-led community developers through an innovative Leadership Development Program called the Urban Experience. God’s given us a picture of where he’s taking us. It’s not just an idea, and it’s not just some kind of fantasy. It’s rooted in solid conviction: a conviction that God’s glory, God’s beauty, and God’s mercy must advance. We believe this advancement begins right here in our backyard in the neighborhood of Shelby Park.

The Urban Experience is an opportunity for individuals to commit a year of their life to relocating into this community, training to live in the city, and effect spiritual change that produces social change. A once thriving place to live, Shelby Park has in recent decades experienced increased crime, home dilapidation, broken family & single parents households, resident transience, and drug and gang presence. We believe that the hope for this neighborhood is the gospel, proclaimed through the local church: men and women who are being shaped, formed and fueled by the good news of Jesus Christ.

This is a call for 6 men and 4 women to join us in the physical and spiritual revitalization of inner-city Louisville by moving into renovated houses, living missionally among the marginalized, and training in Biblical leadership. Participants of the Urban Experience will be developed in a 45 hour per week program including 15 hours of training and 30 hours on the front lines of the church’s effort to fight homelessness and the sex industry. These leaders will catalyze neighborhood renewal not just through practical ministry but also through being equipped to mobilize the church and local residents into action.

We encourage and challenge you to apply for this opportunity: you can do so at sojournurbanexperience.com by March 15th. For additional information, or to sign up to attend one of our Exploration Weekends on February 2nd-3rd,16th-17th, & 23rd-24th contact us here.

Your Soundtrack To Ecclesiastes

We’re picking up steam, heading into the final two weeks of our Ecclesiastes sermon series (hear my “Two Path” sermon from this past Sunday here). With that in mind, we recently asked Sojourn’s community on Facebook and Twitter “What song would you put on a soundtrack to Ecclesiastes.” And wow, did we get a lot of responses. Here is the track list (several of these songs received multiple votes, with the top vote-getter being “Turn, Turn, Turn”).”

  1. “Turn, Turn, Turn” by the Byrds
  2. “Over The Sun” by Shane & Shane
  3. “Badlands” by Bruce Springsteen
  4. “Dust In The Wind” by Kansas
  5. “Hotel California” by the Eagles
  6. “Rejoice” by Pedro The Lion
  7. “Happy Is A Yuppie Word” by Switchfoot
  8. “Wherever I May Roam” by Metallica
  9. “Blowing In The Wind” by Bob Dylan (a couple people also said “Everything by Bob Dylan”)
  10. “Party All The Time” by Eddie Murphy
  11. “Latter Days” by Over The Rhine
  12. “Nothing Even Matters” by Lauryn Hill
  13. “Hurt” (Johnny Cash version)
  14. “Carry On My Wayward Son” by Kansas
  15. “How It Ends” by Devotchka
  16. “Broken Bicycles” by Tom Waits
  17. “Blue In Green” by Miles Davis
  18. “Everybody Hurts” by REM
  19. “Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones
  20. “After The Storm” by Mumford and Sons
  21. “And So It Goes” by Billy Joel
  22. “River of Tears” by Eric Clapton
  23. “The Long Day Is Over” by Norah Jones
  24. “The Whiskey Isn’t Working Anymore” by Marty Stuart and Travis Tritt
  25. “More To This Life” by Steven Curtis Chapman

We also had some votes for “Every song that Bruce Springsteen/ Drive By Truckers/ Death Cab For Cutie/ sings”

Can you think of any songs to add to our Ecclesiastes sound track? Tell me about it in a comment below …

Down With Map Fragments: Faithmapping Is Here

One year ago, Pastor Mike Cosper and I set out to write a book that would show, in the words of Charles Spurgeon,

“It’s the whole business of the whole church to preach the whole gospel to the whole world.”

The book is called Faithmapping: A Gospel Atlas For Your Spiritual Journey, and I’m excited that it’s finally before you. Hundreds of Sojourners picked up copies this past weekend at our services, and it’s also available in paperback and Kindle here, as well as many other retailers like Crossway and Westminster Bookstore. You can also register to win a free copy, on Twitter. Your first step is to read the Faithmapping excerpt from Crossway Books at this link, or below:

Step #2: On Twitter, share a quote or idea that impacted you from the excerpt, along with the #Faithmapping hashtag. We’ll choose ten winners at random, using the random number generator at Random.org. Remember, you must use the #Faithmapping hashtag, so we’ll know you’ve registered. We’ll announce winners this Friday, February 1. If you’ve already gotten a copy, I’d love to know what you think. What are your takeaways from Faithmapping?

What You Need To Know About Epiphany

Adoration_of_the_Magi_Tapestry

Yesterday was Epiphany Sunday, a Christian feast day that caps the season of Christmas.

“Epiphany” simply means “appearance” — it’s a time to celebrate the appearance of Christ on earth. In Church history, Christians have observed a day of Epiphany to commemorate the revelation of the Messiah to the Magi. Many churches in the Western world celebrate this day either on January 6 (at the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas) or on the Sunday closest to this date. Some call it “Three Kings Day.”

Wait A Minute — Is Epiphany Is Just One Day, Not A Whole Season Like Lent?

Traditionally, it’s a one-day feast.  But more and more churches are treating Epiphany as a season of the Church Calendar. It’s a time to focus on the revelation of Jesus in the minds and hearts of his disciples as He ministered on earth, and a time to realize the mission of Christ’s Church: to spread the gospel. Observed as a season, Epiphany lasts until Ash Wednesday, when the season of Lent begins.

Why Should Christians Observe Epiphany?

For one thing, this is all the excuse some of you need for not feeling guilty about leaving your Christmas tree up for a couple months after Christmas Day. Same thing with Christmas music — go ahead and crank up your “Silent Night,” “Hosanna In The Highest” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”

Second, Epiphany helps us focus on important aspects of Jesus’ earthly ministry, such as:

  • the miracles
  • the parables
  • the prophecies
  • the teachings and sermons

It is also a natural bridge between Christmas and Lent.

What Are Some Bible Texts For Daily Devotions During Epiphany?

Here are a few:

  • Psalm 72
  • Isaiah 49:5-7 and Isaiah 60
  • Matthew 2:1-12
  • Luke 13:22-30
  • John 8:12
  • Romans 15:5-13
  • 2 Corinthians 4:4-6
  • Ephesians 3:1-12
  • Titus 2:11-14
  • Revelation 21:22-26

 

Two Sojourn Pastors In Top 10 Books Of 2012 List

I admire Sam Storms the pastor, the author, former dean of Wheaton College and founder of Enjoying God Ministries. And so when Justin Taylor published Storms’ Top 10 Books of 2012 list on The Gospel Coalition blog, I was thrilled and honored that he chose two books by Sojourn pastors for his list.

Coming in at #8 is Journeys of Faith: Evangelicalism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Anglicanismedited by Robert L. Plummer (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012), 256 pp.

Rob Plummer is a pastor at Sojourn East. His Journeys Of Faith explores the fascinating question of why someone converts from one religion to another. See an interview with Pastor Rob about Journeys Of Faith here.

Coming in at Storm’s #4 is Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church, by Gregg R. Allison (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012), 494 pp.

Gregg Allison is also a Sojourn East pastor. His Sojourners and Strangers is the book about the Church, the universal family of God, that I’ve been waiting for. It looks at the role of elders, church governance, discipline and even the multi-campus church model. See an interview with Pastor Gregg about Sojourners and Strangers here.

I hope each of you feel as blessed as I do to have Pastors Rob and Gregg in our family — not just our East campus family but all of Sojourn. These men pray for you, for me, for all the pastors and members of Sojourn. I’ve learned from them and grown with them as we seek God’s will together for the Sojourn community. I recommend both these books to you.

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