Friday, May 25, 2007

Almost There

There are some days when I sit back and can't believe that I get to do what I get to do. In 2 hours, my band of 22 merry adventurers and I will be leaving DC for Nairobi, Kenya. What the heck? Seriously?

I am so thankful that God has blessed with with such an amazing job and unbelievable opportunities.

I'm out of here for the next 10 days. Jump over to our Team Kenya site where I'll be blogging about what we are learning and experiencing.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Pirates 3

'Twas good, mateys!

And will there be another?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Random Wednesday: Favorite Disney Villains

I've been running around all day getting geared up for the big Kenya adventure, which means I was picking up stuff for safari, which made me think of The Lion King, which made me think of my favorite Disney villains. (Just thought you might want some insight into how my brain works).

So here they top 10 favorite Disney Villains:
  1. Captain Hook (Peter Pan)
  2. Jafar (Aladdin)
  3. Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)
  4. Iago (Aladdin)
  5. Scar (The Lion King)
  6. The Queen (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
  7. Lucifer the Cat (Cinderella)
  8. Kaa (Jungle Book)
  9. Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland)
  10. Cruella de Vil (101 Dalmatians)

Honorable Mentions: Pain and Panic from Hercules

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Kenya on the Brain

Yesterday, I went with Mark and Lora to see Parker in his school production of Two Gentleman of Verona at the Folger Shakespeare Theatre. On the way there, we ran into our friend Tim. After the requisite exchange of pleasantries, he asked, "Where are you going?" to which I responded, "Kenya."

The second I said it, I realized I was answering the wrong question.

Mark kinda laughed and said, "I think he means right now."

Obviously, I've only got one thing on my brain!

Monday, May 21, 2007

The End

5.5 hours
66 books
Thousands of years of history
One life-changing message of a passionate God on a relentless pursuit of his people.

The Story ended tonight. (the group...not THE Story)

50 weeks until we do it again.

FAQ: What is Old Testament Survey?

Old Testament Survey is a core discipleship on the Learner Island of the NCC Discipleship Map. It's a 13-week survey course of the Old Testament offered within the context of our small group system. We just graduated our first class, and we hope to offer the group at least one semester a year-- most likely in spring or fall.

The purpose of the group is to introduce participants to the structure, people, places, events, and themes of the Old Testament. There is a daily individual homework requirement and the group meets weekly for discussion, reflection, questions, and application. Old Testament Survey is a great next step after The Story.

We currently use a workbook published by LifeWay, Step By Step Through the Old Testament.

We plan to offer New Testament Survey in the Fall semester.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Gang

Ryan and I went to Nats vs. O's with The Gang last night. The Gang includes people like Christy, Jim T, Leslie, John, Ruth, Jill, and Jim R...most of us have been friends and hanging out with one another since we all met up at an NCC small group in 1998-1999. They were all involved in our wedding in some way. We've all been small group leaders at some point. Amazingly, we've all stayed in the DC area and most of us are still at NCC.

Last night was so good for several reasons. First, I got to hang out at the ballpark-- one of my favorite places to hang out in the summer. Secondly, I got to eat hot dogs and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. But most importantly, I got to be with really good friends who have encouraged me, questioned me, loved me, challenged me, and kicked my butt for a long time. Hanging out with these people is a priority for me. To put it in Daniel terms, these guy are my Hananiahs, Mishaels, and Azariahs. They are people that let me take the pastor cap off and put the Yankees cap on (okay, so not all of them are thrilled about the Yankees cap per se...) Anybody in full-time ministry needs people like that in their lives, and I am so incredibly thankful for these folks.

Do you have a Gang? If not, ask God to bring you some people into your life that let you take off the leadership hat off and put the Yankees hat (or insert favorite team here) on.


Friday, May 18, 2007

Kenya Blogging

I can't believe we leave for Kenya in one week!! Wow! Ryan and I are taking a team of 22 NCCers to work with Chip Block at International Christian Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. We will be leading small group and discipleship training, and we will be doing some arts evangelism.

We will be blogging our journey here:

I'll put a link in the sidebar.

Right now, we are in the middle of a two week prayer challenge. Each day, I am posting the Scripture meditation and prayer focus. Please pray along with us. In Kenya, we will post every day about what we are doing and learning and how you can be praying for us. We'd also invite you to join our journey by throwing up your comments and questions on the blog.


Mark and I called a couple audibles yesterday. First, we are switching the preaching schedule. We made a last minute decision to have him kick off our next sermon series, Chapter Two, on the book of Acts. He came back from his Italy trip inspired. Now, I will conclude the series on June 9-10.

Secondly, we reordered some stuff in the In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day small group curriculum. Big thanks to the Threads guys for being so flexible with us crazy people.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Random Wednesday: Things I Like

Wednesdays are going to become random post days. These random thoughts always hit me when I need to take a break from writing in the basement of Ebenezers. This particular post started when I looked at my empty coke bottle and thought, "I really like coke in glass bottles. Especially the kind bottled in Mexico."

So here, in no particular order, is a partial list of things I like:
  • Coke in glass bottles, especially the kind bottled in Mexico
  • Afternoons at the baseball stadium with good friends and cheap hot dogs
  • Fishing at Billy Berry's lake
  • Hearing people talk about their dreams and passions
  • Watching people take big risks to pursue their dreams and passions
  • Friends who kick my butt to make me pursue my dreams and passions
  • Fried catfish and fried dill pickles
  • The smell of the backstage of a theatre
  • Midnight movies
  • Playing touch football on Thanksgiving (okay so now we are old and it's more watching than playing)
  • Hiking through the woods, especially when the trail seems to disappear for a stretch
  • Learning new things about science, theology, history, or people
  • Disneyworld
  • Debating just about anything
  • Talking to people about Jesus and getting people excited about reading the Bible for themselves
  • Skipping rocks across a lake
  • Capture the flag with water guns
  • My Gran's pies- specifically the cherry one, the chocolate one, and the pecan one. Oh yeah, and the carrot cake

Spirit-Led Uncertainty

While working on the curriculum for Chase the Lion, I ran across this quote from the Wild Goose Chase sermon series:
"If you are Spirit led you will experience high levels of unpredictability."

John 3:8: "The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

True, true. I am experiencing so much unpredictability right now related to our Kenya trip that I can react in two ways. I could be totally overwhelmed. Or I could be totally excited. I'm taking the excited route because I believe God is preparing us for some unique opportunities and challenges.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Old Testament in 2 Hours

Can it be done? I did it last year in 97 minutes, 29 seconds, with one 10-minute break. I swore I would never again try to fly through the entire Old Testament in one hour, but here I am once again attempting to do the crazy.

We actually hit all 39 books-- in historical chronological order.

Friday, May 11, 2007

FAQ: What is Holy Spirit Encounter?

Holy Spirit Encounter is a small group experience on the Seeker island of the NCC Discipleship Map. It is a 12-week course that will most likely be offered during the fall and summer semesters each year. We just finished our first course, and it was great!

The purpose of the group is to introduce the person and power of the Holy Spirit to participants in a way that is Biblical and relevant and not spooky and weird. We examine the work of the Holy Spirit throughout Scripture, the fruit of the Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, the baptism of the Spirit, and prayer. NCC is full of people from a variety of different denominations, and this is our primary vehicle for teaching on our beliefs and practice regarding the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

For the class, we use the book Plugged Into God's Power by Doug Beacham. It is a very contemporary, relevant, practical, and Biblical study of the person, role, and function of the Holy Spirit. We may develop our own curriculum one day, but we found this book to be very good for meeting our goalsfor this particular group .


Ryan and I went to play our first tennis of the year last night. Ouch. Not a physical emotional ouch. It was terrible. By the end of the night, we were able to volley okay, but the beginning was pretty embarassing.

I'm in the market for a new raquet. I'm still playing with my Wimbledon graphite racquet that I played with in high school. It was super top of the line at the time, but not really anymore. The leaders of our In His (Tennis) Courts small group have been giving me some good advice. I'm looking at the Head Airflow 5 for Women and the Prince O3 Hybrid Series. If you've got any advice, please pass it along!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Thoughts in My Head

Random thoughts, in no particular order:
  • I think I'm going to like having Wednesday as my day off through the summer.
  • Oh wow-- is it April already? :)
  • I can't wait to get to Kenya!
  • There are a ton of things to do before going to Kenya.
  • Loved doing The Story on Monday night. Had a great group here, and it's one of my favorite parts about my job.
  • Kicking off our Chapter Two sermon series in a couple weekends. Gotta start studying.
  • I need to get outside.
  • I enjoy writing in the basement of Ebenezers.
  • I can't believe I've been writing in the basement of Ebenezers for over 5 hours straight.
  • I bet those clothes in the dryer are done by now.
  • My zone leaders are amazing. And I think they've kept me from making more than one mistake. Maybe three or four.
  • I should hold a book sale. I just moved offices and have a load of books on my floor. It would be easier to offload them than re-stock them.
  • I still get excited talking about recirculating aquaponics systems.
  • I love Star Wars. The originals. Not the Jar Jar Stinks episodes.
  • This blog is getting dumb.
  • Do I have ADD?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Story Begins...

I am so excited about The Story starting tomorrow night. Leading The Story is one of my favorite things about my job! Last year, we had about 80 people join the high-speed thrill ride through the entire Bible in 3 nights.

I love the Bible, and I desperately want other people to love the Bible and be swept away by the incredible story that God is writing throughout history. Our generation and culture is so consumed with ourselves. Even within the church, we have placed so much emphasis on discovering our destiny, understanding our identity, discovering God's will for our lives, 5 keys to improve our marriages, and on and on and on. All the while, we forget that it really doesn't have anything to do with us. It's about Jesus. We only discover all these things when we see ourselves against the backdrop of God's story. And we find that in the Word.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Back to the FAQ

I'll be going back to the FAQ series for the next few days in order to describe some of the new core discipleship groups we are offering this year, like Old Testament Survey and Holy Spirit Encounter. The purpose of the FAQ series is to answer a lot of the questions I get via email regarding how we do discipleship and small groups at NCC.

The core discipleship groups are the ones featured on our Discipleship Map that we encourage every NCCer to participate in at some point during their time at NCC. The following core groups have already been described:



Spiritual Experiments (Seeker Island)

The Story (Learner Island)

Bible Study Methods (Learner Island)

Inward Bound
(Influencer Island)

Crown Financial (Investor Island)

FAQ: What is "Bible Study Methods?"

Our newest Discipleship Map core group begins tonight: Bible Study Methods. This is a 3-week course offered in May Term to help give people the tools and resources they need to dig into the Bible, understand its message, and apply it to their lives. It will focus a lot on inductive Bible study.

We are using Rick Warren's Bible Study Methods as a text, but we are also creating a lot of our own handouts.

Bible Study Methods is a stop on our Learner Island. Other Learner Island opportunities include The Story, Old Testament Survey, New Testament Survey, and Theology 101.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Falling Into Purgatory

This morning, I got the awesome opportunity to lead a retreat for a Bible study that has been going on in Georgetown for about a decade. They got a tour of the Franciscan Monastery, which is one of my favorite places in DC to meditate, pray, and study. The monastery is the Holy Land of America, containing replicas of many of the shrines, grottoes, and holy sites of Jerusalem, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Rome, etc.

And then there's the Purgatory Room. I don't think that's what it's called, but that's what I call it. It's a chapel where the mass is celebrated and prayers are lifted for souls in purgatory.

As I descended the stairs into this chapel (they are right behind the altar), I evidently missed a step, and I fell right on my Baptist-Pentecostal-Protestant butt and fell into purgatory. The most embarassing part, however, was not the fall into purgatory, but the grave and sincere concern and sympathy offered by others. I don't think anyone believed me that I really was okay.

An hour later, I had to stand up in front of these women and try to credibly present the Gospel. To break the ice, I told my other famous fall story.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Thanks for the Warning

Okay, so this morning, Michael Higdon comes to the office banging on the door. "Heather! Have you seen the signs?"

Evidently, the Washington sewer authority is working on some repairs underneath the sidewalk.

Two years ago, I was walking along this very sidewalk when the bricks collapsed underneath my feet, and I fell into a 7-foot sinkhole. I am NOT kidding! I was just walking along and boom...I was sliding underneath the earth as the soil eroded away beneath my feet. It was crazy!

So seeing the signs this morning was hilarious. To whoever posted them, thank you!

Elevation Burger

I've discovered a new favorite place to eat in DC: Elevation Burger. It came recommended by our friends Margaret and Leif, so we went there last night. Organic burgers, fries cooked in olive oil, amazing chocolate shakes, and yummy cookies.

If you're in DC, go check in out sometime!