Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Well, the picture above is from Shipwreck Beach on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. We had a great vacation! We arrived home at about 2:30am on Friday morning (May 4). I had to be on a plane at 10:00am that day to fly to Seattle to teach a Greenhouse Conference. It was a fantastic weekend where many new and old organic church planters were encouraged, trained and empowered to go out and make disciples. I flew home on Sunday night and all day Monday I was home to do the typical house stuff of mail and bills after being gone for 2 weeks (yuk). On Tuesday, I was off to L.A. for a day of meetings with our family of churches. When I got home last night, I was spent. Today begins getting back to a more normal schedule and I'm looking forward all that lies ahead. Last night I made some calls in the airport while I was waiting for my flight in L.A. I talked with one lady who is not yet a believer and has just started connecting with some of our folks. As I talked with my friend, she said that some things had popped up in her life that had derailed her from moving towards being saved. She wanted to get back on that road. Now that sounds exciting to me. This wonderful women is a doorway to a whole new oikos (household) of folks who need Jesus. My encouragement to all is to never give up. It is easy to have a vision of seeing a disciples being made and a movement exploding. It is quite a different thing to stay focused and to know that God is ALWAYS in control - even when things are going poorly and warfare is all around you. God is ALWAYS in control...why can't I remember that ALWAYS?
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Debbie and I on Kauai :-) It seems as though your mind clears up on vacation - or maybe it becomes more cloudy. Either way, I do have some 'thoughts out there by Ed'. Ready? Following Jesus is hard - being on vacation is easy. Saying you love Jesus is easy - actually doing what He says to do is hard. Saying the words, 'dying to self' is easy - actually dying to self is quite hard. These are not original thoughts, but they seem true(er) to me today than a decade ago. A decade ago (I was just turning 40), I knew how to do ministry. I knew what steps to take and what order to put them in for people to grow and plant house churches quickly. A decade ago, I knew that if I worked hard, did the right things and cast a lot of seed, that I would plant churches and be able to watch them grow, thirve, reproduce and see movements explode. A decade later (I'll turn 50 this month), and during my vacation, I have come to realize that I do know a lot of stuff. I do things in the discipleship and church planting world pretty well. Yet, the work is still hard, long (more often than not, too long), exhausting, time consuming and full of failures. People listen and turn away 80% of the time. I can pour my heart and blood into a person only to learn they have alzhiemer when my name is mentioned. Everywhere I go to teach, talk, coach, counsel or learn I find mostly the same experience in peoples lives. Men and women who are more godly than I and more educated than I and work harder than I do find the same tough road of ministry. It seems to me that in this day and age in the USA, God is choosing the road to be more dusty than golden. Ministry is just a lot of hard work - BUT, I am encouraged! Maybe because I'm still on vacation, but I am encouraged none the less. If Jesus has determined that in my life and ministry (maybe all around the country), things are to be difficult then so be it. I must face it - what else will I do. I long for movements to be blossoming. I long for men and women to hear the name of Jesus and immediately choose to throw all else away to follow Him. After all, that is basically what happened to me! I would love to see people sacrificing things in their lives for living out the Kingdom of God. There are many who do this. There are also many who do not. But I will not give up. I will not be defeated. I will not be discouraged. I will grow, thrive, pray, pour my life out and love knowing that God is in control, even when I do things well and there are no results. He is in control when I do things poorly and things explode. God is God and that is that. I'm glad to be on vacation, and I look forward to being back in Phoenix, getting dirty and tired for the King and His kingdom!