Our Leaders Love our City

I love the small group leaders at National Community Church.  They’re passionate individuals who are making a difference in our city.

For the past few semesters we’ve had a group called Living in the Tension led by Jill Carmichael and Carmel Pryor that’s focused not just on study but also on service.  Right now they’re gearing up for their second HIV/AIDS related event.

They’re screening The Other City to raise awareness about the epidemic that is HIV/AIDS in Washington DC.  You might be surprised to learn that somewhere between 3-5% of the population of DC has HIV/AIDS, rivaling some African countries.

They’re also actively working to combat the epidemic by offering free HIV/AIDS testing.

They’ll be at Harriet Tubman Elementary School (3101 13th St. NW DC) starting at 8 PM this Saturday.  Come on by and check it out.  Questions about the event?  Take a look at their Facebook page.

Holiday Lessons

This Christmas was the first one Rachel and I have spent in DC. It’s our first year in our own home, and we’ve dreamt for years about having a place big enough for both of our families to come stay with us. Truth be told, having enough space for all of them to stay with us at once was no small part of my wanting a large (by city standards) home.

It was great to have everyone here.  And I think I’ve learned a few things this Christmas season, some tongue-in-cheek, some a bit more serious.

  • Things break when people visit – When my mom and brother were in town over the summer the basement flooded.  When the Marcums visited a couple of weeks ago, the roof started leaking.  While our family was here two faucets stopped working.
  • Families can be difficult – You choose friends because you like them.  Families are always there, and you don’t always see eye to eye.
  • Enjoy your family – I love DC, but one of the things I miss most about Chicago is family.  I miss cookouts and meeting my cousins’ significant others before the weekend of their wedding.  I miss watching little ones grow up.  These things make my heart long for home.
  • Vacation regularly – There are often times when I could use an extra day off during the week, but I tend to “save” my vacation days. Nearing the end of two weeks off, I’m dying to do some work.  I should have used my extra days off when I needed them and taken a shorter end of the year vacation.
  • People are expensive – We went through a lot of food with 8 people in the house for a week.  And I’m not looking forward to this month’s utility bills.

Not like us and don’t like us

In my last post I mentioned that I am believing that Washington DC will be transformed by God through the work of His people at NCC.

But here’s the thing, I believe this will only happen if we will step outside of our box and outside of our comfort zone to reach people who are not like us and don’t like us.

What do I mean by this? Well, there are plenty of people in Washington DC who are not young urban professionals, plenty of people who aren’t college educated, who aren’t intellectuals, plenty of people who don’t smell like us because they don’t have a place to take a shower, people who don’t worship God like we do, and people who don’t believe in the same God.

If we want to make a lasting difference in all corners of our city, it’s going to be uncomfortable at times. We’re going to have to talk to people outside of our circles and cliques. We’re going to have to reach out to those people who aren’t like us, and we’re going to have to reach out to those people who actively dislike us.

Greater Things

“Greater Things” was the theme of the 2009 NCC Leadership Retreat and is the theme of NCC as a whole for the coming year. So, what Greater Things am I believing God for?

I’m believing that God will use NCC to make a difference in Washington DC that is tangible and widespread, a difference that cannot be missed, a difference that affects everyone from the President to the poor, from the wealthy to the homeless. I’m believing that the city will never be the same again because of the impact that God makes through His people in this city and specifically His people at National Community Church.

A Running Fool

Will Johnston After Run
Me After My Run

So I’ve recently started running again. I’ve gone about 4 or 5 times in the past few weeks. This is after over a year break from the gym and a several year break from running regularly. Today I was out and decided to just keep going. I went 7.4 miles in 67 minutes, meaning 9 minute miles. I was pretty happy with my distance, but my speed could have been better. Ah well, what can you expect when you haven’t run in years?

I’m not going to lie, part of my motivation was a tweet from @joetrippi (Joe Trippi, the political consultant). He recently started running again as well, and frankly, I was a bit embarrassed that a guy who is twice my age and is, by his own admission, not in the greatest shape was running farther than I was (about 4 miles).

I can tell already that I’m going to be hurting tomorrow, but I think it will be worth it. No pain, no gain.

My Route:

2008-04-07 Run Map