Tuesday, August 30, 2011

House Church?

As I am in the beginning of the church job search, I cannot help but wonder what the church was like in the days of the apostles.  In the lifetimes of Stephen, Paul, and Peter.  What was the structure?  What was the theology?  Did they have all the answers to all the major questions, Heaven & Hell, Suffering, Destruction, and Pain.  From what I have read and very shortly studied, they did not have all of the answers or for the most part know what they were doing.  At the times of the early church they were merely beginning their journey of christianity.  Therefore, they did not know what to say on any of these major issues, in fact the leaders of the then House Church spent much of their time seeking out the advice of Paul, Timothy, Peter, and many other leaders in the Christian movement.  But even then the leaders would seek out the counsel of the scriptures.  True refuge was found in the God-breathed scriptures and these scriptures became the center of who they were, the decisions they made, and the way they acted not because they were told to do so, but because what they were doing was for God.  Although they may not have had all the answers they did have the answer that matter, that being the fact that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead to save the lives of all of humanity from the crippling sin that was at the center of their lives.

 After truly thinking about these ideas, I have come to the realization that there is something very organic and natural about this model.  The fact that nothing got in the way of them truly sharing the gospel to other people because they just realized that it was their job to do so.  They felt the urgency of the story they were telling and the fact that if you do not choose to join in then, you will no longer be in eternity with Christ and his followers.

Something very organic in nature reminds me of a program that we have been holding for a couple of years now at Emmanuel and I have just been given the opportunity to be a part during my present internship.  To give you all some background, Cell Groups are the names of our student led small groups.  These small groups consist of a leader, co-leader, and prospective leader as well as as many friends they can pack into their house.  Lessons are established ministry wide for each of the 10 weeks of the semester and are provided for the leaders.  The leaders then essentially lead the group of people through the lesson and eventually preach the gospel message to, hopefully, a group of unchurched people.

I had the honor of visiting a cell group for the first time and I really was able to see the parallel between the house churches Paul was setting up in the New Testament and the Cell Groups that are taking place today.  These are merely a group of people, leaders included, who do not have it all together and aren't trying to.  These are just house churches that have leaders that long for their friends to be in relationship with Christ and they will do whatever it takes to make that happen.  Although the leaders may not have all the answered, God has equipped them with the tools necessary to preach the gospel to their friends.  (I will speak about what I believe to be these tools later this week so stay tuned).

God is leading his church, not through huge productions and fancy lights, but he is leading his church through people who are willing to admit they don't have all the answers, but that they merely know that God is alive in them and they want to share that hope with as many people as possible.  I pray daily that I am one of those people and I plead with God not to harden my heart because I am distracted by everything else.  We are called to be the church, not a building, but God's people sharing the hope, love, and grace we found in the true living God, Jesus Christ.

till another Day,


Monday, August 22, 2011


Tattoos are a huge part of my life and even more a part of my fiancé Jennifer Schroeder's life.  I started getting tattoos in 2007 for my 18th birthday.  This tattoo was really simple, but it has a great place in my heart as my first tattoo.  This tattoo is a wooden cross with thorns wrapped around and a sign that says "KING" at the top.  Although this tattoo is small and may possibly needs some more work added to it, it was my first and always will be. 

Left Shoulder Blade
Corey @ Artkore Tattoo Normal, IL 

My next tattoo came a couple of years later a few months after I started dating my now fiancé Jenny Schroeder.  This tattoo came 2 years later, this time a present for my 20th birthday from my fiancé.  This tattoo took a lot more thought and the basis behind this tattoo is Jesus Christ.  It is a price tag that is tattered and torn this symbolizing us as humans broken and torn without hope.  Printed on the tag is the word "PAID" symbolizing the fact that our tattered and broken lives are paid for.  Then as the tattoo continues there is a crown on the corner of the price tag with purple blood dripping down.  This symbolizing that Jesus has paid our sins and given us hope.  His blood is purple (purple being the color of royalty) and he is the true KING.

Right Chest
Skinquake Greenwood, IN

Now the addiction really began as my hope to get more and more tattoos grew.  This time it was about a year and a half.  This was much more spontaneous.  Jenny and I were merely feeling like getting another tattoo so I found some script that was meaningful to me.  This tattoo is actually traditional Greek and it is the word POWER referring to Acts 1:8 which states "you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you." Jesus is speaking to his disciples just before he ascends up to heaven.  This verse has been the center of my life throughout college and it has kept me focused on my future and my role that God has for my life.

Left Forearm
Artistic Design Indianapolis, IN 

My latest tattoo came much quicker and has meant more to me than any other tattoo I have.  This tattoo is a symbol completely for my fiancé Jennifer Schroeder who is an artist at heart and always will be the most talented artist I know.  This tattoo came just a couple weeks ago in August of 2011.  This is an artist's palette symbolizing her artistic talent, it includes four colors on the palette.  Starting from the left is the color red symbolizing how powerful, independent, and strong she is.  Next, is orange (one of her favorite colors) symbolizing her happiness, bright attitude, and the sunshine in her eyes.  Then comes Purple which symbolizes royalty and the fact that Jennifer is my princess.  the final color is turquoise which is her favorite color, this is also the color that is on the brush.  This tattoo came our of my dedication to her and the future e will have together.

Right Hand
T.J. @ Irish Ink Greenwood, IN

Tattoos are a huge part of my life and there will be many more to come with about 10 more ideas to come including a tattoo Jenny and I will be getting together in order to symbolize our wedding.  When I got my first tattoo I did not think I would be a heavily tattooed person, but as my journey in life has continued and my love of tattoos has grown I have begun to realize that this would become a reality for my fiancé and I.

Till another Day,


Friday, August 19, 2011

Childhood dreams...

I have felt a little like dreaming about the past recently.  With that being said, as a gift from Netflix (aka i payed $10.99 a month for it) I was sent Angels in the Outfield on DVD.  When I opened this envelope I was so excited because I had not seen that movie since I was 10 years old.  Seeing Danny Glover, "Maggie", "Roger" & "JP", and  the rest of the cast just brought back a flood of emotions from when I was a baseball playing star in little league.  A little leaguer with the dreams of becoming a Major League star someday dawning the colors of my favorite team only one day to play in the World Series.

But the most amazing thing about our lives is that our dreams and aspirations seem to change on a regular basis.  As many of you know, I am not a major league baseball player (still a big fan of baseball) and my dream to become so is no longer there.  But the thing is that my dreams and aspirations although different are still at the center of who I am.  These dreams not coming from a '90's childhood hit movie, but coming from the ever growing relationship with God.  Since 1999, after accepting Christ my life changed as well as my dreams.  My dreams to have an amazing wife and to have a great job, but with these dreams comes a lot of stress and worry.

Our summer has been spent thinking about these dreams and the worry that comes with these dreams.  Where will our next pay check come from?, where are we going to live?, how are we gonna save for a car?, how do we furnish our apartment?, what city will we live in?.  All of these worries have consumed our conversation for the last several months and some of these worries have even dictated some future we have considered making.

But as I continue to think about it, the dreams of working in ministry and preaching to students about the passion I have for Christ.  This dream has begun to become tainted by the lack of response from churches and the ever growing need to pay the bills in the coming months.  But what we have come to realize is that these dreams, although they may change over the years, they are still at the center of who I am.  God has given me the passion and love to serve him, so if that means I serve him in the church or serve at some other profession, my motivation for my dreams will be to serve God daily.

Although my dreams have changed since Angels in the Outfield, they still have the hopes of being something amazing.  When I come to the end of my days I hope for God to welcome me with the words, "Welcome good and faithful servant, you ran the race and kept the faith."

Till Another Day,


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Not much of a Camper...

So those of you who  know me personally realize that I am not much of a camper.  Jenny and I both do not really care to jump in an RV and travel to the Grand Canyon like the Grizwalds.  We are just not about the camping thing, so when I signed on to become the intern at MovementSM I found out that we would be going to camp.

Okay, before you think we are a country church that goes camping for a church retreat we went to camp at Woodlands Camp and Retreat center in Cleveland, GA.  From what I heard before I got on the wonderful charter buses (with DVDs & WiFi\) was that Woodlands was a plush camp that truly takes care of their campers.  So I was excited when we pulled up to the camp and saw the amazing cabins, the beautiful lake, the amazing trails, and the beautiful forest background.  Needless to say this would be a comfortable camp for myself to be at home for a week.  But what i did not realize going in was that God had a few lessons not only to teach our student ministry, but also us as a staff.

God gave me the opportunity to truly listen to his leadership in my life including trusting him with my career choices coming up (which seem to be a recurring theme in my blogs this summer).  God also gave me the opportunity to spend some time with Shane Combs, who is truly a blessing to my life.  Even looking back at the decision I had to come to Emmanuel, I began to realize that it was truly God who gave me this opportunity.

The final day of camp I was given the opportunity to worship God, but worship God in a way I had not worshipped in forever.

This summer God has truly become the center of my life, in my future marriage, my decisions, and my personal life.  God is everything that I am and everything that I seem to be.  God is my life and I look to serve him through everything I do in the future.

Until another Day,


God, why me?

The Problem of Pain.  This is a timeless question that is at the center of most people's lives at some point or another.  I know personally I have asked God numerous times, "Why me?"  Why do we have to be hurt even though we are followers of God?  Why do we have to tragically loss those we love?  Why are we sometimes treated like Job of the Bible?  Does God truly care about us in the midst of suffering and how do we see God communicated in a world that is so filled with destruction, it is clouded.

I had the opportunity to recently read The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis as a part of my study through the Signature Classics.  This is a novel that is not unlike the rest of his writings, a novel that is describing the fact that our life is filled with hurt, but how does this communicate the love found in Christ.  This is the question the Lewis wrestles with and what is interesting is that he never states that our life should be centered on our suffering or that our suffering is a flook, but instead our suffering is an opportunity for us to praise God.

Like the story of Job, Lewis illustrates the fact that our suffering is a testament to fall back on Christ.  That our suffering is an opportunity to say Christ is the center of my life despite this suffering that seems to cripple.  But these opportunities are the opportunities that truly build my character as a follower of Christ.

This past year I have personally dealt with suffering in the form of running into death face to face.  On February 14th I got a call that one of the students that we work with at Bloc Ministries was shot and killed.  Although this student was not my son or brother, I truly felt the weight of his death on our ministry and my life as a follower of Christ.  I asked the question of "Why us God, why him?".  It was not a few weeks later that my fiancé and I were faced with death again, when her grandmother died.  This was devastating for my fiancé, just the fact that we saw death face to face.  Again we asked the question "Why God?"

But after reading this book and looking back it does not make the sting of these tragedies any less, but it made me realize that in these situations my trust in God was built.  Also my dedication to meeting the physical and emotional needs of others is what makes us true followers of Christ.  For there is nothing more organic than life and death.  And there is no better opportunity to seek God than in these two situations.

We Miss you Grandma Schroeder and Deore

Until Another Day