Thursday, May 18, 2006
I'm sitting in Starbucks on 75th Ave and Thunderbird. I'm enjoying reading the Word of God. I'm currently reading Mathew 15-21 for my Life Transformation Group. Matthew 16:25 pokes me in the eye and I stope to read it. Here is what it says: "For whoever wishes to save his life will lost it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." Matthew 16:25 The above verse just stares at me. The words SAVE and LOSE are begging for meditation. My phone rings and ithe person who called me is in pain - heart pain, emotional pain, pain. I listen and love and share my feelings and thoughts with my friend. I share with them Matthew 16:25. It is amazing how God guides us in His Word to use for His glory and the comfort of others. I told me friend in pain to stop haning on to what you think will bring relief and life. I told my friend to let go of what you think you need - jettison the negative thoughts and the selfish throughts and lose your life for Jesus' sake, it is there that you will find life. I no sooner hung up with my friend and my phone rings again. It is another person in crisis. Another broken heart that needs Jesus to mend it. My friend admits that jesus is the answer, that His ways are true and necessary. Then comes these words, "But it is so hard to choose Jesus' way." Which is harder, to do your own thing your own way which leads to continued heartache (saving your life) or choosing to follow Jesus and do things His way, to do things differenly and there find true relief, purpose and life. The choice is actually easy - choose life (Jesus' way) not death (your way). My conversation ends and the guy sitting next to me at Starbucks is reading the sports page. I ask him what he things about the Suns game tonight - we trade opinions. I stick my nose in a book I've been trying to get into and read, but has been quite boring to be honest. The book is entitled Resident Aliens by Stanley Hauerwas and William H. Willimon. The subtitle is A provocative Christian assessment of culture and ministry for people who know tha tsomething is wrong. Catchy title, boring content - until this reading. My socks were knocked off by what I read about journey in life, community and perseverence. I came across this one sentence found on page 65, "By cutting back our attachments and commitments, the self shrinks rather than grows." Powerful words. I immediately call the last person who called me but another person answered the phone. This person has recently also gone through some deep waters. I share the sentence and the person is encouraged to engage people. The person I intended to call was not available - I call back later and share the sentence "By cutting back our attachments and commitments, the self shirnks rather than grows." I hope my friend will act upon our conversation. I set off this morning to find a quite place at Starbucks to sit and spend time with Jesus. I know I did. I know He is at work - even through me!
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
I went to Kansas City to teach Organic Church planting principles and I ended up learning a whole lot from the people at the conference. People who just 3 days ago were strangers to me loved me. During the conference, several people encouraged me. People were generous, authentic, teachable, humble and passionate about Christ. My faith was renewed and my heart was amazed. This trip was a good reminder that believers around the world are family and when we open our hearts to them, love is exchanged. It is my prayer that the truths deposited in the lives of the people in Kansas City will grow and reproduce into an organic church planting movement that will bless the heart of God. In these people, I can see the church being shaped and molded into something very pleasing for the King of Glory. The graciousness of the people and hospitality was very refreshing. That has never happened to me before and I was deeply blessed. It is always hard to be away from my family, but the Lord used myself and Mike powerfully and that feels very good. I look forward to returning home to continue my journey in helping people to be released for ministry and to reproduce themselves for the Kingdom.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
It's midnight in Kansas City and I'm spent. My friend Mike Jentes and I have been discussing organic church planting principles with some church planters, missionaries and others interested in organic church. Some are exploring and some are practicing and some have no idea what God may want them to do next. They are a really cool bunch of leaders. Hanging out with these people for 3 days has caused me to care about them, pray for them and to both encourage them and be encouraged by them. I have never been to Kansas City before and I am in awe once again at how God is moving across our land changing the mindsets of people - almost in unison. The mindset is moving to being more centered on Jesus and not on programs or polish. People are beginning to trust Jesus to transform lives as the marker of a healthy church. The mindset is more wholistic. People are being encoruaged to be in the Word for themselves, to have friends that are commrades in the faith and to be on mission, bringing the Kingdom of God to those outside the Kingdom. The mindset is more missional. People are beginning to wake up and realize that church is more than shaking hands, singing, learning and listening. They are understanding that they must be living life linked with people who are not yet part of the family of God. The church is an already sent agency and we have ground to make up. The mindset is also becoming more dependent on the Lord instead of thinking if we work hard we can make something happen. There is a growing fire for prayer and supplication of the Lord to raise up workers for the harvest and to come and change the lives and hearts of people in need. The mindset is interdependent. There is a desire to build up one another instead of buidling up their kingdom. There is a desire to share resources and to bless those in the body of Christ. It's been a righteousness time here in Kansas City. My body is tired but my heart is refreshed. May the Lord of the harvest bless those who were with us this weekend and may Kansas City see a church planting movement.