Thursday, March 20, 2008

Maundy Thursday

Today, Jesus eats His last meal on earth - that is the celebration that is going on around the world. Tomorrow, Jesus will be murdered.  Sunday Jesus will be resurrected.  Today is known as Maundy Thursday. The twelve men that surrounded Jesus while He was on earth had no idea what was coming. They were reclining at a table, enjoying conversation, food and wine. They were looking forward to the Passover celebration and I would think they were glad to be in Jerusalem with their Rabbi. Slowly, gradually yet suddenly, things began to change. Jesus took some bread and wine from the dinner table and told them that the bread was His body and the wine was His blood. He told them that He would not eat the bread nor drink the cup again until He did so with them in His Father's Kingdom (Matt. 26:26-29). I wonder how strange that sounded to them. At the end of dinner together Jesus takes a basin and fills it with water. This is very odd to first century people in Israel. The Rabbi does not do this. I can imagine the silent whispers and confused thoughts as He girded his waist with a large piece of cloth. When He stooped down and began washing the first disciples feet, I suppose the disciples were shocked. You can read the whole account of Jesus washing the disciples feet in John 13:1-17. To bring more confusion and a darker hue to their lives, Jesus again predicts His betrayal (John 13:18-20) and eventual death. Jesus then begins a long conversation with His disciples about what is about to take place, how they should respond, what will happen in the future (John 14-16). Jesus then prays a prayer that could take you the rest of your life to study, learn and live out(John 17). It all began with a meal together like any other evening. I'm sure that today is a day like most others in your life. As you think about tonight's meal and this weekend's events, you probably do not see much confusion or surprise - just like the disciples some 2000 years ago. But I believe that Jesus does want to surprise you, to use us for great things, to rock your world with His power, His presence and His persuasion. Would you like your evening or weekend rocked with some surprises from Jesus? Allow me to suggest that you spend a few moments in quiet, listening to the voice of God, asking Him what He has to say to you. Maybe you have never 'heard' from God before. Maybe you have tried and wonder if God really cares about you. Maybe, just maybe in your silence, you will hear His voice. It may be quiet. It may come through the Bible. It may speak or yet, whisper to your soul. You may feel His presence...His power...His persuasion towards action. One thing I'm convinced of, Jesus wants to walk with you, surprise you, transform you and bless you all the days of your life. For that to happen, we must be spending time with Jesus. The disciples spent time with Jesus and He rocked their world. I know He wants to rock your world too. Over and over and over again - slowly, gradually yet suddenly. Worship Him today!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Jesus is Alive

One of my passions in life is to see the Priesthood of every believer, regardless of age, to be actually lived out regularly. Last night, I was blessed to observe this passion lived out in my dinning room. Our house church gathered together in a more chaordic fashion that usual. The location (my home) and meal (pizza) came together rather late (like a few hours before). As the word got out to our church about the location, I received 4 communications telling me that they would not be able to join us. I love my friends and knew I would be missing their love, input, insight and company later that evening. As folks arrived, we broke out the pizza, wings and sodas to enjoy together. Because our numbers were about half, we were able to squeeze around the dinning room table. There were nine of us. During our meal, conversation fluttered around the weeks events, job situations and a small discussion about the miraculous. About 30 minutes into our time around the table, a new friend from out of town stopped by. I met this new friend on Sunday (church was on Wednesday). This friend (I'll call him Mike) had been through some ministry wringers and was ready for something new. Mike had been reading some books on Organic/Simple/House church and had attended a Greenhouse two weeks prior. Mike was desperate to know what to do next. Mike and I spent some time together on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and I told him over and over again that there are no linear answers. The only answer I could give him was to focus on Jesus. Mike certainly appreciated that I didn't have the answers and that I pointed him to Jesus. Mike sat down at the table and conversation began as folks asked about where Mike was in the process of faith and life. He briefly told his story and new induction into the ideas of Organic Church. Mike is in his early 40's and has two teenage children. One of his pressing questions was how do teens fit into Organic Church concepts without a 'youth group'. At our table were two teens, both 17 years old and female. As Mike asked his question, the two girls began to interact with Mike and his questions. I was utterly amazed, blessed, pleased and impressed by the girls interaction with Mike. Mike asked questions about why they enjoyed church in this manner, what the benefits were and how they girls dealt with the fact that there was no formerly organized youth group where fun and excitement lives for teens in the church world. The girls just kept on TEACHING Mike about the value of including and involving teens into the mainstream of church life instead of being ancillary and separate from the main body of believers. These young women spoke about being fully included and comfortable in the life of the church. They said they felt perfectly comfortable to be who they were with out pretense. They had dialogue about knowing that the adults truly cared for them and regularly interacted with them. They pointed out that they both would strongly prefer to be in an Organic Community rather than a larger church with a high energy youth group. It was surely a holy moment - one of the more holy moments of ministry in my life. It is very encouraging to see the fruit of life lived in a community of folks living for Jesus Christ. "But the seed is the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance." Luke 8:15

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Things I'm Passionate About (other than my wife :-)

The following list is not in any particular order except number 1 will always remain, number 1 - JESUS! 1. Jesus. 2. Leadership from the bottom up (Matt. 20:28). 3. The Church = People. 4. Making strong disciples in order to to have a strong community (church). 5. DNA in every person at every level - never unraveled - D=Divine Truth, N= Nurturing Relationships, A=Apostolic Mission. 6. Every person is equally connected to the Jesus, the only Head of the Church. 7. Freeing people evangelism (and all of the gifts). 8. Decentralizing the Church. 9. Distributing Authority (as distinct from delegating). 10. Teaching people how to think, now what to think and to listen to the Holy Spirit for His guidance. 11. The priesthood of every believer, regardless of their age. 12. Multiplying communicators of the Gospel. 13. Elders are to point in the direction of spiritual health and invite people to move in that direction.