Community Posts

Rethinking Police in America

One of the major headlines of the chaos that was 2020 was concern over the role of police in America. Movements such as #BlackLivesMatter raised the awareness of the unjust nature in how the police treat minorities.

Last year, when I preached about concerns of inequality in our justice system and then marched in a peaceful protest, many people assumed I was anti-police. The reality is that I served as a police chaplain for years. I continue to have many friends in law enforcement today. And I can honestly say that most police I know have a desire to serve others and a willingness to put themselves at risk to do it.

Yet I think it’s time we broaden the conversation to acknowledge that something needs to change. What we are doing collectively isn’t working, especially to the vulnerable among us. I don’t say this because of any issue I’ve personally had with the police. I say this because I’m learning to listen to many others who have.

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This is Amazing Grace

This is Amazing Grace

Who brings our chaos back into order
Who makes the orphan a son and daughter
The King of Glory, the King of Glory

This is Amazing Grace by Phil Wickham

Today we had the chance to change someone’s story forever. It’s one of the best stories I’ve ever been a part of personally. But here’s the thing about stories like this: there are many stories behind the stories. Today we celebrated the official arrival of Aiden Berra Jernigan into our family. C’mon, you knew he was going to get his own Yankee name. But equally as moving was looking around us at the amazing friends and family who have walked this journey with us. More than that, they have held us up in numerous different ways to allow us to play the part we did.

Our heart opened to make the orphan Aiden our son because Jesus Christ has made us His sons and daughters. We love because He first loved us. But living the Gospel like this takes a community of equally faithful people. To them, we want to say thanks.

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Thanks for the Pleasing Conversation

Thanks for the Pleasing Conversation

Yesterday I had the chance to have lunch with an old friend named Tony. We met at Costa Vida, one of our mutually favorite places. As we were ordering I joked with the employees that I didn’t know why they always ask me what meat I ordered (when I pay at the end of the line) since they are known for their sweet pork. I teased them that they should basically just ask what form you want to eat your sweet pork in (nachos, tacos, quesadilla, salad, etc.).

Tony and I sat for a couple hours catching up on life, ministry, and the things God has been doing in our lives. About five years ago I hired him as an intern at Central and he’s spent the last 4-5 years at other churches and he now lives in another state. It’s awesome to see him in ministry in a greater capacity today. It was also a cool moment when Tony handed me a copy of his book he recently released. It’s called The Ugly Couch and talks about a lot of the lessons he’s been learning. You can support him and get your own copy of it here. Tony did a Kickstarter for it and put in a lot of hard work. I shared with him some of the things I’ve been learning about writing. There was something so fulfilling to me about a friendship maturing over time and distance.

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4th Annual Pumpkin Carving Party

Our life group from Central hosted our 4th annual pumpkin carving party to connect with new people. We invite our neighbors, friends, and coworkers, with the entire goal to hang out so we can create and build new friendships. It was great to see a bunch of new people and some repeaters from the last few years as well!

Here are some of the photos of the night:

Gavin was interested in carving his own pumpkin--for about 5 minutes.

Pumpkins make people do crazy things...

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Interview on CBS 5 News

A couple weekends ago we aired a video of a homeless couple that were living out of a storage unit. They had gotten connected with Central and we were able to help them out. Here is a follow-up video to that original story in which I got to be a part of it.

When Protection Turns to Isolation

[R]ecently I saw a handful of stunning photographs from this article about a variety of people who have made their own levees to protect themselves from the overflow of the Mississippi river. It is crazy to see how their makeshift walls have allowed them to protect their households from the onslaught of water. But it also strikes me as incredibly lonely.

I’m a visual learner, and staring at these pictures reminded me that often times we need to build walls like this in our lives to protect ourselves. It may be a person who has let us down continually or betrayed our confidence. I’d bet we all know the feeling of being burned by another person. Sometimes this type of defense keeps us alive and going.

But it is easy to keep the walls up long after we need them. As an introvert, I struggle with vulnerability and letting others in. Yet true and biblical community demands it of me. I’m reminded of the great community imagery of Ecclesiastes:

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” 4:9-12

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