Lent 2011

borrowing from mars hill church, michigan, we are going to practice an experiential lent as a community. there are daily activities and a weekly reading that will bring us to repentance, prayer, fasting, and giving.

we will update via facebook or you can check in here daily and view the calendar.

here's to a reflective and intentional season of lent.

Praise, Worship, and Prayer

This Sunday we are taking the entire service time to worship through music, reflection and prayer.

Bring your journals, sketch books, whatever you use to worship and respond to God.

Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
My sacrifices, O God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.

See you there!

The Progressive Bonnet Look

sunia here. i'm a big fan of this lady:

and not just because of her progressive bonnet look.

when she was fighting for women's rights back in the late 1800's, she added this resolution to the historic seneca falls declaration of sentiments:

Resolved, That woman has too long rested satisfied in the circumscribed limits which corrupt customs and a perverted application of the Scriptures have marked out for her, and that it is time she should move in the enlarged sphere which her great Creator has assigned her.

she believed this because of biblical texts like this: There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. - Galatians 3:28

but what do we do about scriptures like this:

I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. - 1 Timothy 2:12

if the bible says we're equal, why do some scriptures say i should be silent in church? what does the creation story teach us about gender equality? why does this matter?

sunday. 10:30am. university place hotel@psu.

New Year. Time for Beginnings.

Hey everyone!
This week we are starting GENESIS! And I don't mean these guys:

(Shout out to the 80's and Phil Collins.)

I mean this:

I mean, creation, creepy crawly things, murder, wrestling matches, enormous boats, and the like. Children's Bible stories will never be the same.

Join us. Worship starts at 10:30am. Coffee will be waiting!

Latest from PSU

I love working with students. (And I'm not just saying that because I am one!) I confess I'm not entirely looking forward to adding classes to my weekly schedule, but the buzz in the air and the energy of a new term at PSU is undeniable. Something happens to this beautiful city when young adults converge on campus - it truly comes to life.

I just came across this little update from PSU.

The mission is clear. The opportunity is abundant. Pray that we would reflect God, love like Jesus, and be empowered by the Holy Spirit! Really - pray that for us!!

Love well today,


it's our birthday!

come and hang with us tomorrow, sunday september 26th, for our one year anniversary. arrive early, grab some food and coffee...afterwards it's on to hotlips!

next week: we're welcoming new and returning students and hosting a pizza party after church ON US! be our friend and rsvp on facebook. all are welcome!

A love for Portland

Yesterday(Tuesday) I was reflecting on this past week that I spent hanging out in Arizona. I found myself more in tune with God yesterday than I did at anytime in Arizona. I began to contemplate if I was too busy to spend time with God or if I wasn't listening and being still. After some time of just staring out the window admiring the beautiful Oregon scenery, it hit me! I realized in that moment that God has been revealing himself to me more and more in my daily routine than ever before. Let me point out that I am not saying that God isn't in Arizona. There are wonderful people in Arizona and God is moving and chooses to move where ever he so desires! I think this is what it means though to be called to a city. He has me in this place for a reason, and has put in my heart an unexplainable love for Portland! I realized that in my day to day life here God is ever present! Whether I am hanging out at a local coffee shop or talking to a stranger on the streets or at the pub; whether I am just out for a bike ride or I am hanging out with my Groves' family, I feel God's presence in my life. If I take the time to realize it, He is present in everything I do. Take time to realize the small ways in which God reveals himself to us!


Wisdom Literature Series

We just started our summer series on wisdom literature with an introduction to the book of Proverbs. In preparation for teaching/preaching this book Paul sent me an article to read that has truly whet my appetite for consuming words of wisdom. I'm going to post a section to capture your interest too, but before I do, here are a couple thoughts I have for you today.

First, read a chapter of Proverbs a day with us for the month of July. As you read, let one verse jump out at you. See if you can memorize it and chew on it for the day. I think you will be encouraged!

Second, share what you've learned. Blog, email, go out with a friend, and tell someone how a proverb (God's word) has impacted you.

So, here's a little chunk of what I read today by Ellen F. Davis, Professor at Duke Divinity. Let's go deep in God and deep in culture.

Do your preparatory work outside,
and get things ready in the field for yourself;
then afterwards, you can build your house. (Prov 24:27)

In our contemporary setting, the best way to interpret that proverb, along with the
short narrative that follows (Prov 24:30-34), about the derelict farm of the "slothful man," is not as advice or instruction to individual farmers. Rather, these passages should inform a theological critique of our urban-dominated industrial economy, which has colonized rural communities in North America and around the world. The sages' notion that the field takes priority over the house made perfect sense to a society of small farmers, such as ancient Israel, where everyone knew that settled life depends immediately on care of the land as the source of food and fiber. That reality has not changed, but only our understanding of it. Therefore we North Americans are content to build developments of "McMansions," with infertile, chemically dependent lawns, where productive family farms used to be. We allow skilled farmers to go bankrupt—and in many countries around the world, to starve—while the land is worked, but not cared for, by multinational corporations whose sole goal is short-term profit. We are willing to let our fresh water sources be poisoned by chemical run-off, our rivers and aquifers be pumped far beyond replacement levels, our bays and gulfs be choked into a ring of dead zones around the world. These teachings of the sages speak to our captivity of the natural systems that sustain our life. They now rank among the first of the "vulnerable" whose cry we must learn to hear. Norman Wirzba draws the connection between industrial society's life-destroying commitment to consumerism and our widespread willingness to practice such abuse of people—not to mention factory farmed animals—and living systems: When we are reduced to shoppers who never see the connection between food and habitat, or human health and soil vitality, it is unsurprising that as eaters we will compromise the sources of food and not see the contradiction in this act. Our collective blindness and ignorance is a slow form of suicide that will only be corrected as we recover what it means to be biological beings dependent on a geo-bio-chemical world.

If you want more, and something related to women (Proverbs 31), read on!

...the book of Proverbs concludes with the portrait of a person who has made that choice, the "woman of valor”; the now-common translation, "a capable wife" (NRSV, NIPS), is woefully inadequate. This is the longest admiring description of any ordinary person—that is, not Moses or Jesus or Paul—in the entire Bible. The woman is described in heroic, even fierce terms: she is like a lioness bringing home "prey" (teref, v. 15), or a soldier girding for battle (v. 17) and bringing home the "spoils" (salai, v.l 1). She is even like God, clothed in "strength and splendor" (v. 25). Yet the scene of all her action is the household and the local community, which she builds up and makes more secure by her work. She does the concrete work of wisdom in her neighborhood: her hands are stretched out to the poor (v. 20); she cares for her land and makes it prosper (v. 16). Her words are characterized by hesed (v. 26), the glue of mutual commitment that binds together the members of the covenanted community. This is an iconic portrait, a holy and vivid image of the kind of life that all the teaching of the sages is meant to inspire. But we miss the point if we dismiss it (as did one preacher in my hearing) as a picture of a submissive housebound woman, a throwback to another age with no constructive challenge to address to our own. The woman of valor is a source of security for her husband (v. 11) and strength for her whole community. If the word "submissive" can be applied to her at all, it would be only to denote her proper humility before God (v. 30).

Resources and Tools for Cultivating the Inner Life

Hey Groves and Company,
This week we will be taking a little time to talk about developing our spirituality.

"What are you talking about Sunia?"

I'm so glad you asked.

I've been praying about growth in my spiritual life. I was tired of feeling weak and powerless. Discouraged and tired. So I began to make changes. Every day. Little adjustments. I was intentional about talking to God. And listening.

And responding.

And I began to experience new life and growth.

There's nothing new here. No hidden secrets. Just simple, profound, and concrete ways that people for centuries have pursued God. I wanted to invite you on the journey.

So here are some resources that I hope you find the time to check out over the next week. Let's talk about how we can do this together.

Non-traditional prayer movement. Check out 24/7 Prayer International. Scroll down towards the bottom and watch the 24/7 prayer shorts. Here's my personal favorite, but check them all out for yourself. Really. Do it.

Anything grab you? Any radical creative ideas?

Fasting. I found a brief, general Biblical account here. Campus Crusade has helpful information on their website here and here concerning the practical and spiritual nature of fasting. The Daniel Fast (link is to another church's website) is considered a partial fast and commonly used among faith communities. There are plenty of online resources regarding this fast - google or bing it!

One book I would recommend is God's Chosen Fast: A Spiritual and Practical Guide to Fasting by Arthur Wallis. Order it here.

My personal scripture of inspiration: Isaiah 58.

Have you fasted before? What was it like? Did you do it alone or with others? Do you have anxieties about fasting? What are they?

Contemplation. Have you ever visited SacredSpace? Take an easy ten minutes to reflect and be silent via the internet! Or, if you want to find some REAL space and enjoy the weather try The Grotto in North Portland. Easy access for an extra hour or two to get away and reflect.

Do you regularly practice silence and reflection as part of your spirituality? Do you ever feel bombarded by everything around you? Is your mind constantly spinning, even when you try to sleep at night? What do you do to cope when overwhelmed?

quitter, planter, and dreamer (3 in 1)

sunia here. 7:30am.

biggest personal struggle: finishing.

in my basement i have a large tub of yarn, crochet hooks, and the beginnings of blankets that have become potential scarves. my sewing tub holds material and patterns to make pretty dresses for an 18 month-old. she is now seven. my bookshelf has a half dozen of uncompleted journals. those journals hold over twenty unfinished songs. soon, those journals will have their own bin that will join the others in the darkest corner of my basement.

loose ends. like the ones on my cheap target dresses that go through the wash once and come out with feathered seams.

i can put them out of sight. but not completely out of mind.


i took a trip to minnesota and jesus met me there. since then i've been stuck on cultivating my inner life. my spiritual life is like a garden: it's been winter for a long time, the ground needs to be torn up, nutrients need to be worked in, and seeds need to be planted. it is hard work.

especially for someone who quits.


you won't relent until you have it all
my heart is yours
come be the fire inside of me
come be the flame upon my heart


some days, planting a church in portland is like standing at the edge of a cornfield in iowa in march with one of these:

some days, i imagine the church in portland will be like the warmth of the late summer sun on my skin, the rhythm of friends and family harvesting together, content, happy, and wondering where we will store it all.


So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. - Apostle Paul

sunday march 14th

this sunday's recipe: seven sons of sceva, "book" burnings, and a little bit of "lord of the rings" for flavor. (continuing in acts, 19:11-22). voodoo donuts and coffee at 10:45am. worship starts at 11am. university place. be there!

Acts, Paul, Urbanization

Sunia here. I was just reading some material for next Sunday's teaching and discussion time. I came across this passage in a commentary, "The Message of Acts", by John R.W. Stott published in 1990:

"In 1850 there were only four "world class cities" of more than a million inhabitants; in 1980 there were 225, and by the year 2000 there may be 500. Or consider the so-called 'megapolis' or 'megacity' of more than ten million people. In 1950 only London and New York qualified. But by AD 2000 it is calculated that there will be twenty-three cities of this size, with Mexico City taking the lead at nearly thirty-million inhabitants, and Sao Paulo and Tokyo following at nearly twenty-five million. Most of these mega cities will be in the Third World; only four will be in Europe and the United States. Already two-fifths of the world's population are city-dwellers; by the end of the century the ratio will be more like one-half. [For a more recent article and info on urban growth click here.]

This process of urbanization, as a significant new fact of this century, constitutes a great challenge to the Christian church. On the one hand, there is an urgent need for Christian planners and architects, local government politicians, urban specialists, developers and community social workers, who will work for justice, peace, freedom and beauty in the city. On the other, Christians need to move into the cities, and experience the pains and pressures of living there, in order to win city-dwellers for Christ. Commuter Christianity (living in salubrious suburbia and commuting to an urban church) is no substitute for incarnational involvement."

Stott wrote this in exploring Paul's strategic travels and time spent in the major cities of his time (Athens, Corinth, and Ephesus). In being a church intentionally planted in the city I thought this was particularly interesting.

Talk to me. First thoughts? Second thoughts?

Sunday January 24, 2010

This week we are in room 296/98 in SMSU (Smith) at PSU.

Erik, Jamie, and the team will begin our time of worship through music at 11am.

We will continue in the book of Acts as Paul and Sunia speak about the places where the Kingdom of God is in conflict with the Kingdom of the world. We'll examine the text (Acts 17:1-9) and discuss where we see missional people, inspired and empowered by the Holy Spirit, meeting very real, often systemic resistance, while living and teaching the gospel.

Come early for coffee and muffins. Childcare provided.

P.S. Go MN Vikings!!!!!! Perhaps some purple coffee is in order...

P.S.S. Next week we will be meeting at University Place on 4th and Lincoln - the university hotel. More info to follow.

Sunday January 10, 2010

We'll be meeting this Sunday in SMSU 328/9 at PSU. Street parking is free until 1pm and the PSU parking structures are also free on Sundays.

Worship begins at 11am - come early for coffee and muffins. We're continuing our teaching in the book of Acts. Childcare is provided.

See you there!

New Term Updates

This Sunday we are back at PSU - SMSU 296/98! Worship begins at 11am - come early for coffee and muffins. We will continue our teaching and discussion in the book of Acts.

Parking is best along Broadway, and free until 1pm. Parking is free in the PSU parking structures (2 are on Broadway).

There will be two small groups this term. Wednesday night's group will continue to meet at the Gibbs' home - same plan: 6pm food, 7pm discussion. The other group's info will be coming soon.

Email w/any questions!

Happy New Year!