Some of you know that this year I started working at the National Director for Church Planting with V3, which you can learn a little more about here. I’m excited about a number of things we have going on, including some new learning communities for church planters starting up this fall. We have been going through a branding process and so I wanted to unveil our new logo today (just above). We are in the process of developing our website, which will go live in mid to late September. So what do you think of the logo?
“Sometimes we experience a terrible dryness in our spiritual life. We feel no desire to pray, don’t experience God’s presence, get bored with worship services, an even think that everything we ever believed about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is little more than a childhood fairy tale.
Then it is important to realize that most of these feelings and thoughts are just feelings and thoughts, and that the Spirit of God dwells beyond our feelings and thoughts. It is a great grace to be able to experience God’s presence in our feelings and thoughts, but when we don’t, it does not mean that God is absent. It often means that God is calling us to a greater faithfulness. It is precisely it times of spiritual dryness that we must hold on to our spiritual discipline so that we can grow into new intimacy with God.” - Henri Nouwen
We live at an amazing time in history, when we have the ability to connect with people from all over the world, to share our faith and to build up the body of Christ. I love to travel to different cultures and learn from people of other cultures as well as share the things that Christ has put on my heart. I’m thankful to live in a time where I can take a plane to places like Indonesia and bring God’s word to God’s people in different cities.
One of the things I enjoy doing in my “spare” time is meet people from different countries over the internet, especially through facebook and/or twitter. I try to connect with those who don’t know Christ and then it seems that Christian leaders from those same countries somehow find and connect with me. I especially enjoy connecting to cultures and countries where the media seems to demonize, and countries that our government puts in a bad light, because I am convinced of God’s love for the whole world.
Last week a pastor in an “unnamed” country facebooked me and asked if I could speak to his young adult group. I told him I’d love to visit, but probably couldn’t come out that way till next year. He said, “Oh, I was thinking you could share with our group through Skype”. I said, “Sure, I think we could work that out.”
So tomorrow I will be connecting to this congregation in a country in the Middle East with a huge Muslim population. Please pray with me as I share with them about living a life of faith. We live in interesting times, and I’m thankful to God for the opportunities to live out and share the good news in so many ways.
Photo by Marthin Suhl Creative Commons 2.0
Lord, life’s a whirlpool.
So much to do.
I rush around, faster and faster,
intent on today,
Never looking beyond the immediate.
My good intentions,
wet and waterlogged,
slide down the plug hole,
on the blurred edge of vision,
people stand, beckon, call.
So indistinct I can pretend
I don’t see them,
except to myself.
But I rush on.
a little largesse on the way.
Greasing the palm of charity.
My once bright conscience dulled
with tarnished generosity.
Encrusted rust, self-damaging.
My own collecting boxes
full of good intentions,
And yet, Lord,
there are moments
when I hear your voice.
Soft, yet insistent.
Your voice, coming,
not from some cloudy heaven
but somehow centered
in the people I ignore.
And when I take my courage in both hands -
and doing that
means putting down my diary first -
and turn to them,
I find I’ve turned to you.
Among the lonely.
You are the neighbor I ignored.
The injured on the Jericho road.
And when I walk by,
on the other side,
I sidestep love,
and I’m the lonely one,
Self-exiled by my busyness.
Lord, help me try again.
Find time for others.
Find time for you.
From Facing the Storm
A good friend of mine and a group of his friends help to provide soul-care and spiritual direction for pastors, which they call The Table. The Table is a two year communal experience where you will give attention to the state of your soul and the true longings of your heart. You meet intermittently throughout the two years, and get some individual spiritual direction throughout the time. Click here for more information and an application. Go to the very bottom of the page to get some specific dates, and spread the word if you know of any pastors that might be able to use something like this.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Proverbs 17:22
We all know about being entitled
and then growing careless
We all know about self-indulgence,
even amid work to be done.
We all know about being – for a moment -
beyond Torah requirement and
outside of your world of command
We know about seasons of life not given over to us
and grief at being failed selves
We also know that you circle back among us
in harshness and in mercy
in rigor and in generosity
Now our world has gone careless and
So circle back, we pray – one more time,
among us with your mercy,
our only source of comfort,
for we belong to you in your faithfulness.
From Prayers for a Privileged People
Missiologists Andrew Walls and Cathy Ross are editors of the book Mission in the 21st Century: Exploring the Five Marks of the Global Mission. Cathy Ross works for the Church Mission Society in Oxford, and Professor Andrew Walls was formerly the Director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World at the University of Edinburgh. While the editors say, “the five marks are neither a perfect or complete definition of mission”, the are rich “with potential and they do form a good working basis for a holistic approach to mission.” As you read the five marks that they explore in this book, consider writing a reply of what your five marks would be, or which marks you agree with or disagree with, or which would you keep and what would you add.
THE FIVE MARKS OF MISSION
1. To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
2. To teach, baptise, and nurture new believes
3. To respond to human need by loving service
4. To seek to transform unjust structures of society
5. To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth?
Jesus is taken by God or, better, chosen by God. Jesus is the Chosen One. From all eternity God has chosen his most precious Child to become the savior of the world. Being chosen expresses a special relationship, being known and loved in a unique way, being singled out. In our society our being chosen always implies that others are not chosen. But this is not true for God. God chooses his Son to reveal to us our chosenness.
In the Kingdom of God there is no competition or rivalry. The Son of God shares his chosenness with us. In the Kingdom of God each person is precious and unique, and each person has been given eyes to see the chosennes of others and rejoice in it. - Henri Nouwen
“A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Proverbs 17:22
A hilarious 18 second video from a Dallas News Broadcast