Josh j Smith


Lent
March 20, 2011, 1:57 am
Filed under: religion | Tags:

I have been asked by Providence to facilitate a conversation via Facebook and blog about Lent.  I will try to post daily and the posts will include either stories, scripture, quotes, questions, and/or challenges.

Quick details about Lent:

It is about 40 days/8 weeks before Easter Sunday.  Ash Wednesday is the beginning Easter is the End.  3/9 – 4/24

Traditionally you are not supposed to eat meat on Fridays as a reminder that it was on a Friday that Christ suffered on the cross.  It is practiced by many, not just catholics.

So McDonald’s runs their fish filet special during this time in select markets.

People usually fast from something they really like or are addicted to (i.e. Sweets, coffee, meat, watching TV, etc.).

Ash Wednesday is the day you might see friends, family, or coworkers with dirt on their forehead.  This article was great in providing the significance behind this tradition – The Gospel in the Dirt.

It is encouraged to follow a Lent Reader or the readings marked out in Book of Common Prayer each day.

Resources:

Henri Nouwen’s Show Me the Way Daily Lenten Readings.

Lent on Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lent

The Book of Common Prayer.

The Book of Common Prayer online – http://www.bookofcommonprayer.net/index.php

Tips for our Conversation:

Please Comment on your journey to encouage all of us.

Comment on Providence Facebook Page.  http://www.facebook.com/providencecommunity

Peace Be With You

Joshua Smith

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Small talk
May 25, 2010, 7:38 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

In our small/large group last night we talked about the difficulty of controlling our tongues.  We realized it is hard to do it ourselves, but it is even harder to control the tongue that is not yours.  Gossip is violent.

We also talked about our identity has changed when we decided to follow Jesus and his kingdom.  Paul encourages us to put off the old self and put on the new self.  That we are clothed in Christ, making the point that we should not identify ourselves as “sinner”  or by the sins we commit.  Nor, should we identify with the “good things” of our culture (i.e. success, fashion, fitness, etc).

I think our small/large group is paving some new trails in our maturing as a community committing to follow the ways of Jesus.  After several months of just eating and talking and taking prayer requests occasionally, we are just getting to the point where we are thinking about going to the next level of intimacy.  I think a lot of us scared because it is unnatural.

 



my new job
August 13, 2009, 1:33 am
Filed under: stuff

I was a percentage point about month ago for the unemployment rate. It was frustrating, humiliating, and stressful. For those of you who think about trying to survive on unemployment wages – you cant.

Being unemployed is humiliating on a couple levels. First and obvious is being jobless and struggling to provide for the basic needs of your family. As a result, you become dependent upon family and friends to help you. In our case, many did so. My friend Will employed me to cut wood, do some roof work, and build some platforms for his church. My sister paid me the most generous hourly wage I have ever received to tear out a bush and trim some hedges.

The second humiliating thing about being unemployed is that to get a job you have to lower your standards for work much more than desired to get something that pays the bills. Lowering my standards meant returning to my first and most skilled trade – food. Therefore, I decided to stop in gourmet market across from where we used to live. I thought, “I love coming here as a customer, maybe I can get a job here. And, bonus, I can walk to work.”

I walked in. Asked if they were hiring, and found out a position had become available that day. I filled out an application, and Chef and one of the managers interviewed me. A couple days later I was wearing my Santoni’s hat, white jacket, and black checkered chef pants. Ironically, I love the job, and realized that cooking is something I love to do. It is a canvas I like to work on, and I am wanting to learn more about.

Santoni’s Marketplace and Catering – If you are in the Baltimore area you can contribute to my employment by visiting, using them to cater a personal event, or recommending them to your employer for corporate catering events.



Hot Wheels
August 8, 2009, 1:53 am
Filed under: 1

We purchased a Hot Wheels for Murray and today I assembled it.

I remember my Hot wheels vividly. It was black with orange accents. The wheels were plastic of course. In fact the integrity of the cheap plastic wheels became vulnerable because I rode it so much. There were deep gouges from my off-road adventures I took in our single driveway. As I became more adventurous the gouges became cracks, and it was not long that the entire wheel was going to split apart.

The most exciting memory I have with my Hot Wheels was when my brother and sister dared me to ride down the steep hill that ran parallel to our street. Dennis Avenue was not the steepest of the hills around our house, but it was steep enough to be dangerous for a child to drive his holey, beaten-up, Hot Wheels down. It was overall a good trip until I approached the intersection realizing there is know way of stopping my Hot Wheels except using my feet. Now realize it was not meant to be used at high speeds, because I read the instructions. Some how I walked away; actually ran away crying with only bloody knee.

So just before bed I was gazing upon Murray’s Hot Wheels as a proud father happy with his craftsmanship of following directions and matching the decal numbers with the right spot. Gina, my wife, walked in the room and asked what I was looking at? I smiled, and responded, “Nothing.”  I don’t think she would have been prepared for my sentimental toy memories that were now turning into hopes and dreams for Murray’s adventures.



Lterally – Nomadic Resident
August 6, 2009, 2:51 am
Filed under: 1

We moved out of our apartment we lived in for three years yesterday. Here is a quick list of what has happened in those three years (not in any particular order).
– Murray was born
– Graduated Seminary
– 4 different employers supplied funding to live there
– Got rejected countless times from potential employers
– 2nd, 3rd, and 4th wedding anniversary
– Purchased Mac I am typing on right now
– Totaled 1 pick up truck, bought one van, got rid of one van, bought a Honda.
– Met good friends Burgesses and Harbins
– Became better friends with Reinharts, Josh Butler, Kate Coyle, and Kirsten.
– Bobby and Andy Murray’s Wedding
– Ben and Bekah Murray’s Wedding
– Rumpert becoming a father with our landlords dog to two puppies
– Rumpert getting neutered.
– Gina’s Grandfather passing away…RIP Te’te
– Found new home to live in.

Now, we are a resident in between homes, hence we are literally nomadic residents



Indecent Exposure
June 10, 2009, 1:34 pm
Filed under: religion

A struggling economy is not fun.  But with any suffering comes the revelation of truth that show us our destructive patterns of living.  The most obvious, coming from a monotheist who believes in Jesus, is our love of money.  What sickens me, is how our love of money has influenced how we are the Church, the people of God who are meant to be the presence of God.  The people who are to show the world that Jesus is enough and that man does not live on money alone but on Jesus.

If Jesus says the love of money is the foundation of evil and we cannot serve both money and God, then why have we made money the foundation of who we are, the means of what we do, and now, the sword that brings dissension and despair to many local churches?  This recession reaches beyond the Church, but through recession God is saying to us,

“I myself will lift up your skirts over your face, and your shame will be seen.  I have seen your abominations, your adulteries and neighings, your lewd whorings, on the hills in the field.  Woe to you, O Jerusalem (Church)!  How long will it be before you are clean?” (Jeremiah 13.26-27 ESV).

Jesus is the cornerstone, the foundation and the reason for us to unite as the body of Christ.  The mission is the gospel, for the Kingdom of God to be planted and grown in our midst, and the means by which this happens is the Holy Spirit.  But I had many conversations and heard the strategizing of many church plants, and the common factor for their growth and stability is money.  Not only with church plants, but with existing churches and their meetings.  We meet.  We deliberate.  We conclude.  Then we pray and ask God to bless our decisions we have just made based on budgeting and this month’s tithe.

It may not happen exactly like this.  I am exaggerating to explain enlighten the pattern that is so rooted in our thinking that has emerged from  a culture of living beyond our needs.   The only thing that is different is our language when we use phrases like “We need to be good stewards for what God has given us.”  But our lifestyle and our corporate conduct is not very different.  We have no regrets about using God’s portion and our brothers’ and sisters’ hard earned income for regular lunch meetings, bloated salaries and high payroll for minimal work, the continual use of and reliance upon expensive equipment, radiant signs, and beautiful bulletins all to appease our customers.  We have become so dependent upon money for the functioning of our churches that we do not believe a church can exist without proper funding.  Somehow we translated the business model “it takes money to make money” into “it takes money to make converts.”

Then we hear stories about the Chinese underground church that is being oppressed and the miracles the Holy Spirit is doing, and we are baffled as to why we are not seeing it here. We read through Acts about the early church and dream about that kind of experience for our churches, but are not willing to take the risks and fully depend on the Holy Spirit.  Government, other religions, atheists, evolution, or public schools is not the oppressor of the American church, money is.  And our faith in money  is constraining the magnificence of God’s glory and his kingdom descending.

The sooner we can destroy the idol of money the sooner we can see the work of the Holy Spirit that we now only hear stories about.  The sooner we embrace the shame of our skirts being lifted over our face, and confess our slutty behavior to God, the sooner he who began a good work in us will continue to work in us.  The sooner we emerge together as the people of God for an exodus from our oppressor, the sooner he will deliver us to his kingdom where Jesus is all we need.

There is a remnant of churches that see this and are clinging to the ways of Jesus, and yet there are some that will fall prey to the very thing they rely on.  Because of money men and woman are going to make decisions that will hurt their friends and bring dissension.  Pastors are going to fire pastors and their friends, and those who are let go will feel as though they were cut off not based on them as a person, but as a number.  Pastors are going to condemn and judge attenders by preaching about budget deficits and the lack of giving to people who are struggling to put food on their table due to unemployment.  Rather than seeing a church that takes care of others’ needs, we will see the corporate personality of the church take care of its own needs before the needs of the people (who are the church).  If money were not our foundation and our means, then destruction would not be knocking at the door of many local churches during times of famine.

Yet, while destruction may show its ugly face, it is only for the sake of resurrection.  The confrontation of sin and the exposure of our scandalous  hearts is to humiliate us.  Allow this be a time where our relationship with Jesus is anything but personal and isolated.  May this recession be a season of reconciliation where we find the idols that are pulling us away from the Holy Spirit.  So that Jesus is the cornerstone  we build his kingdom and our oppressor crumbles.  Finally, so that we can celebrate Jesus’ resurrection in our life by embracing the death of our love and dependence for money.



Mothers Day
May 11, 2009, 1:57 am
Filed under: 1

sidewalk chalk

Mom has been away with her friends, which means Murray and I were left to: watch spots center this morning, eat pizza, play with tonka trucks and slides, get ready for Mom’s Day, and get a few bumps and scrapes. I don’t know if Gina planned leaving the two days before mother’s day to show how much she does, but it made me appreciate her a lot more when I am all by myself taking care of Murray and everything else.

This is a tribute to Gina from Murray and dad.

Mom thanks for cleaning up my poopy. You do it all from diapers to underwear, baby wipes to toilet scrubbing.
Mom you are cool because you motivate us to do fun things like finger paint, read, play games, jump in rain puddles, and do not let us rot in front of the television.
Mom, even though it is a bit annoying with the camera and pictures at times, I love it. It is preparing me (murray) for my acting career. And I saw the gnarly scrapbook you are making, it tells a great story of our family

Mom, thanks for being a cool mom! Our house is going to be one of those houses my friends will come to because you are cool.
Mom you are pretty.