Friday, April 11, 2008

Only in Boston

So, I had one of those "only in Boston" moments last week...

Next to my house is a very small patch of woods--we're basically talking about the 50 yards between my driveway and the commuter rail tracks, consisting mostly of trash and a few trees. Small, yes, and a rare find in the city, proven by the fact that they are about to tear it all down to build a park. But for now, it's nice to look out my kitchen window and see something other than cement. Not much happens in these woods, save for the occasional group of kids using it as a hangout after (and sometimes during) school. We call them "The Pot Boys"--I'll let you figure out why. One time they lit a small fire and left it there, and the fire department had to come and put it out. Those firemen were NOT happy about being called away from the Red Sox game to put that fire out, that's for sure.

ANYWAY, last week I was looking out the window and noticed a police car that had pulled up to the edge of the woods. There's a policeman that lives down the street from me, so I didn't think much about it, except that about a half hour later, I could still hear his car engine. Looking again, I saw that another police car had pulled up and the two officers were conversing and pointing into the woods, as they both donned rubber gloves. Naturally, all of the episodes of CSI I've ever watched came into my head and I thought I had a crime scene on my hands!

I went to another window so that I could get a better look at where they were pointing, and sure enough, there was a garbage bag with something very heavy in it. I, of course, began looking around for clues, witnesses, tracks, and my David Caruso sunglasses when I saw a public works truck backing up to the edge of the trees. The policeman was struggling to pick up the garbage bag when it finally ripped open and I got a look at what was drawing all this attention to my little patch of woods: parking meters. Stolen, hacksawed, busted-open-and-left-in-the-woods, parking meters. About 8 of them. They carried them over to the trash truck, threw them in, and were on their way.

Now, this left me with several questions for the perpetrator. A) Who are you, that you went to all this trouble? Hacksawing them off their posts is one thing, but then somehow busting them open, stealing the change and then dumping them in the woods? Really? B) How much money could there really be in one of those things, because I see them being emptied all the time. Really? C) As much as we've all, at one time or another, felt some--ahem--strong emotion about getting a ticket or not having a quarter when we need it, this is a pretty extreme act of parking rage. Was it really worth it, especially since you're probably going to use a lot of those quarters for, um, parking meters? Really?

And as I reflected on what happened that day, it dawned on me that this is so often how we are in our spiritual lives...Just kidding, I don't have a great spiritual analogy for this one. Just a funny Boston story. :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Lessons Learned #1: Move the Rocks

I'm not much of a gardener. In fact, I pretty much kill whatever plants are in my direct vicinity--I'm pretty sure I can do it by just looking at them. No one asks me to water their garden when they go out of town. This is just an understanding I have with my friends and family: You want your plants to be alive when you get back? Don't ask Stacey to water them.

However, there are a few things about gardening that seem pretty "common sense" to me, the most obvious being this: Before you plant a seed you have to get the soil ready for it. You have to loosen the soil and remove any rocks and sticks that might suffocate the new growth. This is absolutely vital in the process of planting seeds.

We use a lot of similar language when we are talking about ministry as followers of Christ. How many times have you shared the love of Christ with someone, and then referred to it later by saying, "Well, at least a seed has been planted."? We are all about "planting seeds". But how much time do we actually spend getting the soil ready? As William Young puts it in his fantastic book, The Shack, "You have to take the time to prepare the soil if you want it to embrace the seed."

Here in Boston, we say a lot that we are a "rock-moving" ministry. Before we can begin to plant the seeds of God's Word in people's lives, there are some huge boulders that need to be removed that are suffocating the Truth. These can come in many forms: family tradition, past hurt, cultural boundaries, relational boundaries--the list is endless. We have come to realize that we can't just ignore these things and fling seeds everywhere! These are huge rocks in people's lives that are hindering them from seeing the Truth, and if we truly and sincerely love people and want to see them freed from those things, then we have to be committed to taking the necessary time to remove rocks and till the soil of their hearts. And when the Holy Spirit does an amazing work in someone's life by removing the hindrances, we have seen some incredible surrender and strong faith.

And in Boston, the boulders have been around for centuries--literally. From Plymouth Rock in 1620 until now, layers and layers of bad soil have been compacted on top of the good soil. Layers of intolerance, religious universalism, and indifference have been suffocating the Truth.

So we labor to remove the rocks and break up the layers so that the soil is ready for planting. The lesson we've had to learn (and are still learning every day) is a lesson in perspective. No matter how much time I spend on the work of rock-moving, be it months or years, I have to understand that I might not get to see that seed ever planted or the fruit ever produced in my lifetime. But I'm OK with that, because I know that the small part I play in the grand story of God in someone's life is a vital part, and one in which God has called me to be faithful.

And it's a much better job for me than trying to keep a ficus alive.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


I LOVE this time of year, for about a million reasons. Those who know me well know how crazy I am about snow and winter in New England. I love it, all 6 months of it! But I'm not talking about winter...I'm talking about Advent.

Growing up, Advent was always a special time in our family, when we would light the candles and read part of the Christmas story--my dad would always talk about how "the Light of the World is coming!" and we would pray that "our hearts would be ready". It confused me a little because I thought, "didn't He already come? Isn't that why we celebrate His birth?"

As I have grown older, both in age and in faith, I've realized that we not only celebrate His birth, but we also anxiously await the day when He will come again (Advent comes from the Latin word for "arrival"). It has become one of the most special times of the year for me, because it is a time when the rest of the world is, well, going crazy, and I have the opportunity to step back from that and reflect on what this event means in my life as a Christ-follower. Have you ever really thought about it? GOD became a BABY. Like the song says, He humbly came to the earth HE created, all for love's sake. The Word became flesh and MADE HIS DWELLING AMONG US.

I just finished an amazing study on the Old Testament tabernacle--God's original dwelling place with man. I learned so much about the orginial plans of the tabernacle, how each element was symbolic and intentional (if you've never read about Aaron's "priestly garments", read Exodus 28--that must have been an interesting look...), all so that there would be a proper dwelling place for God. But NOW, through Christ, WE are the dwelling place of God. All because the Word became flesh.

This is a big deal. And now I understand my dad's prayer that our hearts would be ready for His coming--it has become my prayer, because I WANT to be ready. The presence of God means the FULLNESS of God, and I want that in me. I want Him changing me, growing me, compelling me, inspiring me, even convicting me. And if we ever want Him to work through us to change this world for His Glory, we have to be ready as living, breathing, walking-around tabernacles of God.

So, are you ready?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Passion is Coming!

"Yes Lord, walking in the way of your truth we wait eagerly for you. For your name and your renown are the desire of our souls." --Isaiah 26:8

I hope you've heard by now about the Passion Regional Event that's happening right here in Boston next weekend, October 12-13. This is a great opportunity for students and young adults from across the Northeast to come together for two days to worship, pray and hear from God's Word. Many of the worship songs you sing and know have come from the Passion worship leaders like Chris Tomlin and Charlie Hall who will be joining us. Louie Giglio and John Piper will be bringing us messages from God's Word. We'll gather these two days at the Agannis Arena on Boston University's campus, on Comm Ave right off the Green Line B Train.

You can find out everything you want to know on Passion's website, and you can register there as well:

The price is $79, and I PROMISE you, it will be worth every penny. Passion is being used by God all over the world to bring a generation of people together to encounter God in a powerful way for His Glory. My life has been changed by God's work through Passion, and I know of many others who would say the same. Please join us, and please bring your friends!

After Friday, the price will go up to $99, so take advantage of the lower price and register NOW!!

If you have no idea what or who Passion is, go to their website and take a look around. They are an incredible group of people and have such a desire for God to be known in Boston. Come join us for this exciting time next weekend!

If you are over 25 and still want to come, please volunteer! It takes a lot of people to make something like this happen, so we can use your help! Register as a volunteer on the Passion website as well.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at
See you at the Agannis next Friday!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Something New

For those who are finding this blog through the new online home of the Collegiate Church Planting Community, welcome! My name is Stacey, and I have the great privilege of coordinating the CCPC here in Boston. I have the best job on earth, and look forward to sharing with you about it through this, my first attempt at entering the world of the blog. We'll see how it goes...

This is the season of NEW. In Boston, we are welcoming hundreds of thousands of college students who have been moving into Boston for the new semester--many for the first time. New faces, new classes, new digs, new lifestyle, new freedom. For some, the days ahead will be full of self-realization, self-discovery and a keen awareness that life has completely changed...for the better. For others, it will mean a tough road of learning from mistakes and trying to make wise choices in the aftermath of foolish ones. I think back on my college experience and know that I fell into both of those categories at one time or another!

For us in the Collegiate Church Planting Community we love this time of year because of all the possibilities and opportunities that come along with a new semester. We know that God has placed us and our churches in Boston at this time in history to fulfill His special purpose for this generation. It is not by chance. God knows exactly what He's doing. So we embrace the new semester and do everything we can to spread the fame of Jesus to students and young adults in Boston.

"Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I [God] will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert." -Isaiah 43:18-19

God is up to something NEW. Every day. I don't know about you, but that makes it easier to get out of bed in the morning. Not only is His mercy new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23), but He is always at work in new ways, making rivers in deserts! No small feat for us, but a very small one for our God. All glory to Him!

Father, do something new in Boston--where there is wilderness, make a roadway; where there is desert, let it flow with rivers of Living Water!