Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Thoughts on PCC

So, last Sunday evening I drove myself over to Greater Atlanta Christian School for the service of Passion City Church. I was excited and a little nervous about what the experience would be like. I enjoy Louie Giglio's talks and love Chris Tomlin so I didn't want to be disappointed. Right now, PCC is meeting in various locations around ATL until their facilities are renovated. GACS has a nice gym facility they are letting PCC rent. So, that was the environment for Sunday night's service. Because of the large numbers of people fighting to get into the parking lot, the service started about 20 minutes late. The musical worship was incredible, though a bit like a concert. Not Tomlin's fault by any stretch of the imagination, just the result of 2000 people in a gym praising the Lord. :-) I've since discovered that one of the songs we were singing that was new to me was straight out of II Corinthians. I want to find the song again because it was a really cool song.

Louie's message was out of Psalm 121. While it was a great message, it wasn't exactly the "meaty" message I'm used to. There was nothing wrong with it and there were parts that really touched my heart but there just wasn't the depth I've grown accustomed to with David Platt's teaching. Again, not Louie's fault that I've been exposed to a level of preaching few others can attain to. :-)

All that being said, I wasn't exactly disappointed, I just wasn't overly thrilled. As I told a friend Sunday night on the way home, I can't put my finger exactly on why I am unsettled, I just know I am. Since PCC doesn't meet this coming weekend (another problem in my book), I've decided to try out another place here in town. I'll keep you posted on that one.

Please understand, I am NOT slamming PCC - it is a great ministry and will reach many people in this city and around the world. It just isn't what I'm looking for.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Book Review - The Hole in Our Gospel

I've been meaning to write this review for a few weeks now...I finished Richard Stearns The Hole in Our Gospel and can easily say it is one of the most powerful, thought-provoking books I've read recently. Stearns is the current head of World Vision, a child sponsorship organization known worldwide for their work with children in poverty and disaster. I had heard great things about this book so I was worried it wouldn't live up to my expectations. Fortunately, I was not disappointed.

The book opens with Stearns outlining how he came to be the head of World Vision. Needless to say, heading up a large faith-based organization wasn't on his list of "must have" jobs. He resisted and resisted God's call until it became so obvious he couldn't deny it. Stearns gave up an incredibly lucrative position in the secular world, uprooted his family and moved across the country to follow God's call.

The remainder of the book - really the bulk of the book - is Stearns making the case through Scripture that we are called to help the poor. Through personal stories and experiences, Stearns provides a sometimes heartbreaking look at the realities of poverty in much of the world. He very pointedly takes the western Church to task about our lack of concern for people we cannot see on a daily basis.

One thing I really appreciate in this book that is sometimes lacking in other venues is that Stearns provides multiple options on how Christians can get involved in working with the poor. He also doesn't advocate only his organization - he provides tips and encouragement on how ANYONE can get involved.

Bottom line, this was a wonderful book that I would highly recommend to anyone.

Thomas Nelson publishers provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Fully moved in...sort of

I finished the last of the "moving in" stuff this weekend. I wanted to wash both my comforters before putting them on my beds so I hauled them in to the local laundromat today. That was an interesting experience to say the least. But, got that done and I am more thankful than ever for my washer and dryer! Can't imagine the weekly expense of the laundromat or the hassle of hauling laundry in and out each week.

I also got the second bedroom cleaned out and partially organized. I still have some additional sorting to do but that can happen over time. I also got my smaller pictures hung so the apartment really feels like home. I feel a true sense of accomplishment this evening.

Had an interesting experience yesterday. I needed to go get my GA drivers license so I headed out to the Decatur branch of the Georgia Department of Drivers' Services. The mall this branch is located in is somewhat sketchy to say the least. Lots of closed storefronts and the other stores were ones I hadn't ever heard of (outside of Macy's). I wanted to get in and out quickly. Well, the crowd in front of me put an end to those thoughts. There were at least 50 people ahead of me in line. But, surprisingly, the system worked rather well. It called people by assigned number so there was no line cutting to be had. From entrance to new license only took about an hour so I was pleasantly surprised. My picture makes me look like a criminal but oh well, no one looks good in their DMV photo. :-)

After the license was obtained, I headed to try and find a new Publix. Found one that appears to be closer to my apt. than the one I tried last week. Still had my coupons scrutinized but I'm beginning to think that's a Decatur-area Publix thing. As long as they continue to take my coupons, I don't really give a flyin' flip how long they scrutinize them. I know Publix's coupon policy so I'm prepared to argue for my savings if I have to. :-)

All-in-all, it was a good week. I have lots of meetings (mostly by phone) this week and then heading home to Macon for Father's Day and Sarah's birthday. Get to spend some extended time with Sarah to give my mom a break from taking care of the patient. Sarah had surgery this week on her knee so she still needs a little help getting around and handling Barney. It'll be nice to spend some one-on-one sister time.

The only thing I haven't found is a new church to visit. There are literally hundreds of churches in the area but so many of them are traditional churches and so far, I just haven't seen one close to me (within a 30 minute drive) that seem like a "good fit." I'm still praying God will show me the place. Passion City Church meets June 27th so I have that one on my calendar. We shall see.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

First Week In Review

So, I've officially finished my first week in my new city. It was really a smooth transition into my new job, new home and new city, other than locking the cat in the linen closet by accident of course. (That's another post for another day.)

Tuesday was my official first day of work and like any good organization, Tuesdays are for staff meeting. There was major food at this meeting. I'm not sure if this is the normal approach to staff meetings but I like it! Apparently there is a major approach underway to radically alter the make-up of the board of directors for my organization. So, most of the meeting was spent trying to figure out ways to circumvent this attempted coup de tat and make plans for the major board meeting and vote scheduled to take place on Monday. This office also does secret pals and this past Tuesday was their "reveal." Each of them had presents for their secret pal and to make sure I didn't feel left out, they got me a Starbucks gift card. Major score!

The rest of the week was pretty mundane. Get up, go to work, work hard all day trying to make heads or tails of my project, go home, crash and then repeat the next day. Friday night after work, I decided to change it up a bit. I got directions and headed out to Buckhead to find Lenox Mall. Well, I missed Lenox but ended up at Phipps. Same difference since the store I wanted was in both places. Phipps is one nice place. I plan to go back and explore the stores at both Phipps and Lennox...Nordstrom, Filene's Basement, Williams-Sonoma and more. My GPS lady and I managed to find our way home quite nicely.

Yesterday I slept in and then headed out to run errands. I am thoroughly enjoying having more than one grocery store. I have a whole new appreciation for southernsavers.com now that I have Kroger and Publix close by. Ran to Kroger yesterday morning for those staples they had on sale. Brought those home and headed back out to one of my favorite stores on earth...IKEA. If you've never been, plan a trip to visit me and we'll go. I had a list of things I wanted to find and outside of a replacement CD tower, they didn't disappoint. I also came home with an additional item, a set of recycling bags to use at my local recycling place (more on that in a bit). After IKEA, I headed to my local Target. It's in a place kind of like Patton Creek (for those Bham people) only more crowded and not as well laid out. Have to try and find a different Target. This one is too crowded and the in/out system is NUTS. After Target, I headed to what Publix.com says is my local Publix. Have to find a different Publix. This one is small and horribly laid out. I had only a few items but the cashier insisted on scrutinizing each coupon I had. You'd have thought the money was coming directly from her paycheck. Then, the bagger used one of my cloth bags put started putting other stuff in plastic. I was thinking, um...I brought canvas bags and I expect you to USE them. I made him take the stuff out of the plastic bags and put it in canvas. To me, it's not an environmental thing, it's an ease of getting everything into the apartment thing. Canvas is better for that hands-down.

Today brought another first. Dekalb County, the county where I live has a well-known international farmers' market. It is 144,000 square feet of fruits, veggies, spices, crackers, cookies, breads, meats, seafood, cheese, etc. They had fruits and veggies from all over the world some of which I'd never even heard of. They even have pure sugar cane still in the stalks. Can't get much fresher than that! There is a large section of spices from all over and packaged much like a co-op would do it. VERY large section of organic grains and regular grains. I wandered through their bakery area to see what they offer and decided to check out their wares by bringing home some chocolate cream cheese croissants and a half a loaf of raisin bread. I figure it's pretty hard to screw up chocolate and cream cheese. :-) They also have a huge cheese selection, again with varieties I've never heard of. I got a small block of colby and monterey jack to try and it is delicious. Definitely better than anything I've had from a grocery or specialty store. If you like fresh fruits, veggies, etc. come visit and we'll make a trip over.

The farmers' market is also the site for local recycling. They take newspapers, plastic, steel cans, glass, phone books, etc. It is incredibly convenient and I can't wait to make use of it!

All-in-all, I've had a great first week. Still haven't found churches to visit but I'm still searching. Passion City Church doesn't meet again until 6/27 so I'm having to wait on that one. Any suggestions from the peanut gallery would be greatly appreciated.

Til next time...