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You are marked, you know. Soul-marked…by the love of God. But that can be so hard to remember; given all the other marks we bear. Marks of our own making. Marks of our unmaking. Sin, brokenness, folly, regret. They all, in their own ways, leave marks. And with blemished hearts and smudged souls, we can forget who marked us first. And perhaps the most sinister of all marks are the ones without fingerprints. Tarnishes left with no one to blame. Disease, trauma, depression, loss. They too, smear our sensibilities and blur our perspectives. What we need is a new mark. Or perhaps an old one, re-traced. Is it any wonder why the mark...

As early as the fourth century, Christians have set aside the forty-six days preceding Easter as a time of reflection, confession, repentance, and spiritual renewal. With the joyful anticipation of Easter resurrection, believers commit to disciplines and practices that are intended to deepen their faith in, and widen their love for the crucified and risen Christ. We call this season “Lent.” While Lenten disciplines vary across the church’s many traditions and denominations, and while there are multiple ways for individual Christians to exercise personal faith in meaningful ways, one of the most powerful practices during this season is the gathering of...

So, Monday is a pretty big day. Monday morning, January 29th, I will defend my doctoral dissertation. It’s been quite a ride, these past 3 ½ years. The journey has been challenging, inspiring, frustrating and fulfilling all at once. The course work, seminars, papers, research, project proposals, interviews and thesis writing (along with this little day job I have) have all served to confirm my belief in, and deepen my reliance upon, the all-sufficient and sustaining Grace of a God who is more than enough. “More-than-enough” is not a bad way to think of God, you know. According to Galatians 3:20, “...

With the season of Advent just around the corner, I hope you and your family plan to take full advantage of every opportunity to gather with your church family and marvel at the unspeakable mystery of God’s love made known to us in the birth of our Lord. Below is a list of some of these opportunities. Blue Christmas, November 29th at 6:00pm in the Chapel. Are you or someone you love experiencing sadness during this season? Is it difficult to get into the Christmas spirit because of some loss or transition that has impacted you? No need to put...

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language, and next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a new beginning. T.S. Eliot Over the twenty-three years serving this church, I’ve seen many staff ministers come and go. Each brought their own talents, gifts and mindsets to their respective ministry areas and each left us richer for their time with us. Each new minister arrives amidst feelings of renewal and promise for our future. So, this weekend we say farewell to a long interim and warmly welcome our new Children’s Pastor, Annie Sutton. Our new beginning...

One of the growing concerns I have as a pastor, attempting to lead and love in this current era, is what seems to be a nation’s fading capacity to be shocked. Events and realities that would have left us aghast even one generation ago have tragically become normalized as a part of the daily news cycle. We have come to expect the drama, the vitriol, the violence, until gradually, gone unchecked, unexamined, unchallenged, the soul is numbed, desensitized to how far away from center we have slipped. Then, occasionally, something happens to stretch the bandwidth of our tolerance. Vegas. From 32 floors up, a sea of 22,000...

It’s just plain fun when the JCBC family gets together.  I love it when we intentionally slow the pace of our lives – just for a little while – and simply gather.  We celebrate, delight in and even re-kindle long treasured friendships, and often times, make some new friends in the process.  No time restraints.  No agenda.  Just the joy of each other. Let’s do it again on Sunday, October 1st. On that day, we will gather for [BE] Fed – the 2017 version of Food Truck Sunday.  Immediately after worship, make your way to the back parking lot – near the...

The table is set. Our Connection, Formation, and Mobilization Ministries– while always evolving and improving – are humming along.  Our Worship Ministry has expanded to include both Blended/Traditional and Contemporary worship opportunities – each excellent in their own way.   Greeters are greeting.  Teachers are teaching.  Singers are singing.  Servants are serving.  Leaders are leading.  Communities are communing. Yes, the table is set.  So, now what? JCBC…it’s time to Go and Tell.  More directly…it’s time for EVERY ONE OF US TO GO AND TELL.  Even more directly…it’s time for YOU to go and tell.  It is up to us to tell others that JCBC...

When you know your “why” anything is possible. When you know your why, then your who, what, when, where, and how become simply a matter of consistent effort and energy over time. When our church voted to expand our worship options for the sake of reaching those who otherwise may not encounter the JCBC experience, we claimed our “why”. We knew (through two years of deliberate dialogue and discernment) that there was (and is) something remarkably unique about who we are as a congregation. We knew that our way of doing community is uncommonly strong among churches. We knew that our theologically progressive message is...

It is with gladness in my heart that I bring good news. After many months of searching, and countless hours of discernment over breakfasts, lunches, and mid-morning coffee interviews, we are now ready to present a candidate to serve as JCBC’s first contemporary worship leader. As I have shared in a previous blog, our goal has been to seek out the person God has prepared to join us in this exciting new adventure for our church. Over the course of these many months, we have met with numerous individuals whose musical gifts and abilities are remarkable. Truly remarkable. Yet, our deeper desire and loftier...