Dear Santa, I want you to have these cookies because I love you. Adam
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
1. Bon Iver
I discovered Bon Iver at the end of 2008 and was instantly hooked. Both of his albums are great.
2. Sojourn Church's "Over the Grave"
The song "Warrior" has got to be one of the greatest songs I've heard in a long time. I couldn't find a video for it, so check out this link from Grooveshark (if you haven't signed up for your grooveshark account, check it out).
3. Mumford & Sons
Just heard about these guys through Steve McCoy's blog. Loved it immediately! Some free downloads to get you going can be found here.
4. Derek Webb's "Stockholm Syndrome"
Perhaps you've heard that this album is controversial. Webb has always been controversial because of his message, but now he's gone off the deep end by including two curse words in his song. Here's a good article about the new album, and enjoy the video.
5. The Fray
I know they've been around for a little while, but this year I've listened to them a lot.
6. Fiction Family
Jon Foreman of Switchfoot plus Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek = Awesome.
7. Brooke Fraser
I first heard Brooke Fraser on a Hillsong United album. Such a great voice. Her album Albertine came out a couple of years ago, but I came across it this year. So many great tracks.
In my opinion, you can't have a top 10 list of music for 2009 and not include U2's newest album.
9. The Avett Brothers
It took me awhile to get into these guys, but then I heard this song...
10. Kings of Leon
I loved these guys when they first came out, but haven't listened to them in awhile. Then I heard this song awhile back and was instantly happy.
2. When Helping Hurts - I heard Steve Corbett speak at CCDA and then purchased the book. Here is an article by the co-author, Brian Fikkert. I have to say that I had never heard anyone say these things, yet something resounded within me that these guys are speaking truth.
We moved to Midtown Memphis almost four years ago from the SF Bay Area. We had a six-month old at the time. We learned right away that most young families don't stay in Midtown long because of the school system. We felt called here to start a church, and believed that we needed to live here long-term in order to be effective.
We also learned that our neighborhood has a public elementary school, but the families in the neighborhood don't send their kids there. So we began our research. I should point out that my wife is an educator and taught in a Memphis City school our first two years here. This helped immensely. In April, 2007 we hosted a forum at our neighborhood school to determine if this was a quality issue or something else (racial, economic, safety, etc...). There was a large turnout, and the consensus at the end was that it's a great school. So something else is keeping families from sending their kids there. After the discussion, my wife was asked to be the Community Representative on the school's Leadership Team. Other parents (of not-yet-school-age children) have already begun to take leadership roles in school events as well. The principal is working closely with neighborhood families to see the school bridge the racial, economic, and academic gap.
Throughout the last few years, we have encountered dozens of people with the same heart cry as ours - for this to become a neighborhood school once again. Some of these we knew to be followers of Christ, but many would not identify themselves as such. Yet a community has begun to form, full of families with a common vision and mission.
Next fall our oldest will be attending Kindergarten at our local elementary school, along with several other children from this group, with dozens more planning on attending in the coming years. Over the last few years we have held this very loosely. We have prayed a lot. We do not want to sacrifice our child, and what we're doing is actually far from that. This is an excellent school, and he's going to have an excellent education, even beyond the academics. He will learn diversity, both racially and economically, and our prayer is that he learns to love others as God loves him.
At the same time, though, what we are doing is extremely intentional and strategic, and I know that it is a big part of why we're here. We never would have set out to integrate our local elementary school or attempt to change the school district, but when we pray, "God, do only what you can do" be ready to walk through the doors He opens!
We could have been called to a different neighborhood in the city, and though our process would have been similar, I recognize that the result may have been different. There are multiple bottom lines, but they all have to be prayed through and considered.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
If it's December, then there must be frost in the air, gingerbread in the oven, and ... right on time, Bill O'Reilly and the other defenders ofbemoaning the prevalence of "Happy Holidays" - rather than "Merry Christmas" - greetings.
There's a war on Christmas, O'Reilly recently reminded viewers, driven by those who "loathe the baby Jesus." This season, a holiday-dÉcor company is marketing the CHRIST-mas Tree, a bushy artificial tree with a giant cross where the trunk should be. And the Colorado-basedFocus on the Family is continuing its Stand for Christmas campaign to highlight the offenses of Christmas-denying retailers. The campaign was launched, according to its website, because "citizens across the nation were growing dissatisfied with the tendency of corporations to omit references to Christmas from holiday promotions."
But to a growing group of Christians, this focus on the commercial aspect of Christmas is itself the greatest threat to one of Christianity's holiest days. "It's the shopping, the going into debt, the worrying that if I don't spend enough money, someone will think I don't love them," says Portland pastor Rick McKinley. "Christians get all bent out of shape over the fact that someone didn't say 'Merry Christmas' when I walked into the store. But why are we expecting the store to tell our story? That's just ridiculous."
Read the rest of the article here.
The following article was in Saturday's Commercial Appeal. Unfortunately, it's not online, so I decided to post it here.
Neighborhood Church believes that Christmas can [still] change the world and has partnered with the Advent Conspiracy (www.AdventConspiracy.org) to celebrate Christmas by spending less, giving more, worshiping fully and loving all this season.
Neighborhood Church (NC) has partnered with Advent Conspiracy (AC) to help Memphis experience what Christmas is really about (celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and peace and love for each other), and away from what it has become (consumerism).
NC Pastor Robert Grisham says “We’re encouraging one another to get creative and give meaningful, relational gifts this year. Then, the money we save we’re going to give away to those who really need it.
NC is holding events like the “Think Globally, Party Locally” party, where, instead of toasting to our own good health, we’re asking all of our friends to toast to the world’s good health at a rockin’ good party to raise money for global clean water initiatives through Living Water International.
The Advent Conspiracy is a grassroots movement with more than 1,000 churches in 17 countries participating as co-conspirators- with projects as varied as drilling a water well for those who lack access to clean water or simply encouraging congregations to think of meaningful acts of kindness as meaningful gift options to replace traditional gifts.
Last year, through Advent Conspiracy, $3 Million was raised for relief projects which included providing clean water and medical attention in communities around the world.
This year, Advent Conspiracy anticipates that individuals and churches will match last year’s commitment to charitable gifts and will make a lasting impact in communities around the world.
For more information about Advent Conspiracy, please visit: www.adventconspiracy.org.
For more information about Neighborhood Church, please visit www.ncmidtown.com.