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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween 2007

Our family decided to engage Halloween in our neighborhood a little differently than normal.

Instead of trick or treating or going to a local church's fall festival, we set up two carnival games in our yard and our 4 girls gave out candy, glo-sticks, and cards with a verse while they played with children and met a lot of neighbors.

What did you do this year?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Message in a bottle?


Insight into Bottled Water

Check out this story in the most recent issue of Fast Company on bottled water. The 15 billion dollar industry is a telling example of our culture of indulgence here in the US. Some of the article will probably surprise you.

There is also a cool interactive timeline, poll and quiz.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Train for consistency

Why am I so inconsistent?

I can talk a good game. I can restrain my words when someone else is in the car. But I find out what I'm capable of when I ride by myself. I tend to talk to other drivers in not so endearing terms. I know what I'm capable of.

Why am I so inconsistent?

I mean, it's not like I don't want to live fully and faithfully for God. Hello. I do! Or at least I say I do. But when it comes down to doing what it really takes, my talk is a lot bigger than my walk.

I'm learning this through running.

To run a 10k race, you need to train-unless you're from Kenya. Then you just have to be breathing.

But I need to train. If I hadn't trained last year by running months before the race, I'd have never finished the 6.2 mile race running. No way. No matter how inspired I was. No matter how much I wanted to impress somebody or win a prize. The only way I was able to do that was that I disciplined myself regularly to run. I don't run, I don't get stronger and I don't finish the race.

So I ask myself again, "Why am I so inconsistent?"

Because you don't train to run the spiritual race. Or you train, but you train casually. Instead of training for the Navy Seals or Army Rangers I train for the Jedburg Police Dept.

So what's it going to take for me to live more consistently? Train to remain. Train to remain in Christ.

Jesus says in John 15, "Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 'I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.'"

Humbling.

But I have to begin by humbling myself if I'm ever going to move from gutless Christian to standing firm in Christ every day. If I want to stop complaining about my inconsistencies and do something about them, I need get on my knees and fight like a man. I need to sit and soak in God's word regularly, at length and with pen in hand. I need to pray God's word and fast. Yes, I need to allow myself to get weaker physically to get stronger spiritually. His strength is made perfect in my weakness. I need to give and give sacrificially. Worship God with my lips AND hands.

May my worship, dear God, cause me to perspire for your glory. Clean me up, fill me up, and send me out. I drop my trinkets and trivial pursuits and offer myself to you again today. Remain in me and do what only you can do through me. In Jesus' ever-present name I pray, amen.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My lips and My life


I'm reading Louie Giglio's book on worship called "Wired." I love the verses Louie starts out with:

"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess His name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." Hebrews 13:15-16 NIV

It is a powerful combination to live a life where both my lips praise God and my life praises God. Oh that I might do that today!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Glocalization

Tired of drive-by mission trips? I am. And I've led them.

I'm reading a great book on building God's kingdom around the world. Nothing really new, right? Well, not so much. Bob Roberts is a champion of partnering long-term with others around the world. He's got a great manual on it too called Glocalization, playing off of the Best seller The World is Flat.

If you've been following Rick Warren's P.E.A.C.E. Plan, it's the same idea but with more specifics and more developed strategies as well as stories of his personal experience. He's been leading his church in this for years and is writing about his experience.

He's also created a network called Glocalnet where he has forums and more that facilitate global discussions and more.

Personally, I'm leading Grace Christian Fellowship to adopt this strategy. We are prayerfully and carefully moving forward with what we hope will be a long-term relationship with the people of Curacao, N. A. We are going down in the summer of '08 and will build on 2 previous trips I led from Raleigh Road Baptist Church. My hope though is that this time we'll leave with a long list of projects and ideas we can build on and contribute towards with our people's skills and not just send money. I see more trips where we partner with locals there to invest into their community.

I encourage you to ask yourself, "What nation am I investing in?" It's a scary step. But one with great potential for Kingdom Building in the best sense of the phrase.

Like my bike?

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Catalyst a couple of weeks ago. This is one amazing leadership conference for young leaders. (Okay, so I sneaked in)

God really worked me over at this conference--and in ways I never saw coming.

The most challenging was from Francis Chan. He talked about how he got so successful as a pastor in California that he found that he didn't love his people anymore. Not only did I get that gut-check but I was also challenged by how they looked at their $60-million building project.

The short version is that after 2 years of work when the architect and building committee unveiled their rendering of what they felt God wanted them to build, Francis' words were immediately, "I hate it." And he had been involved from the beginning. Silently watching and taking it all in. Trying not to force his own agenda. Yet at the point of victory his stomach turned so that he had to speak his mind.

Now, months later, they have a different concept that is much more like what Francis envisioning Jesus would do. They aren't building a mega-sanctuary. Francis said he thought that in their city Jesus would be preaching in the park. So they are building an outdoor amphitheater instead of a sanctuary. No roof. Just a giant park. If it rains, they worship in the rain. They're okay that it costs the worshiper something to worship God corporately. That's cool. That's challenging. That's outside of the book. I want to live that way!

The pic above was taken at a vendor booth. I guess I'm living a fantasy as I've always thought it would be great to have a motorcycle but have never had the guts to get one.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Advantages of being...poor?

It seems counter intuitive to see any advantages in being poor. Philip Yancey takes his cue from Jesus on the poor. Check this out:

Spiritual Advantages of Poverty

  1. The poor know they are in urgent need of redemption.

  2. The poor know not only their dependence on God and on powerful people but also their interdependence with one another.

  3. The poor rest their security not on things but on people.

  4. The poor have no exaggerated sense of their own importance, and no exaggerated need of privacy.

  5. The poor expect little from competition and much from cooperation.

  6. The poor can distinguish between necessities and luxuries.

  7. The poor can wait, because they have acquired a kind of dogged patience.

  8. The fears of the poor are more realistic and less exaggerated, because they already know that one can survive great suffering and want.

  9. When the poor have the gospel preached to them, it sounds like good news and not like a threat or scolding.

  10. The poor can respond to the call of the gospel with a certain abandonment and uncomplicated totality because they have so little to lose and are ready for anything.
—Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew (Zondervan, 2001, p. 115); submitted by David Bartlett, Rochester, Minnesota

Monday, October 08, 2007

Youtube Most Watched Video

I clipped this from the CatalystSpace webpage. I had a great 2 days listening to visionary leaders inspired by God to live fully for Him. I'm going back next year. I hope I see you there!

"Wintley Phipps was featured as a special guest as we convened for the final session of Catalyst. With his powerfully deep voice, he treated us by singing two classic spirituals - He's Got the Whole World in His Hands and Amazing Grace. If you haven't heard this man sing Amazing Grace, do yourself a favor and find him on YouTube."

It's an amazing 9 minutes. Get your hanky though.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

One Verse


This is one of the coolest mission ideas I've ever come across. I would love to see our church adopt a people group and start paying for that translation. Below is an excerpt from OneVerse.org about how college students helped translate scripture for 3 people groups-in 3 days.

"Praise God for his work through the Passion 07 participants. The Dela, Rikou, and Lole people groups now have the financial support needed to complete their New Testament.

Over 2,000 individuals gave sacrificially to help the Dela and Rikou, and Lole understand God's word. Additionally, over 170 groups have pledged to become part of the story.

So many have become involved we have started on new people groups for Passion participants in Timor. Verses will be available for sponsorship with that people group later this week.

Impact

“I think OneVerse is an awesome way to participate in bringing the Word to the world. Plus it’s my new favorite gift. For our son's baptism we gave him Mark 12:30 'Love God with all you heart, soul, mind, strength.' I love this OneVerse thing!”

Angel R. Atlanta, GA

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Catalyst Conference bound!

I'm am pumped about this year's Catalyst leadership conference!

I wasn't planning on going since I'd already been to The Summit in August. But someone graciously bought me a ticket and asked me to go! Hmmm...let me pray about that YES!

I'm praying that God will expose me to all He wants me to take in. I pray that I'll humbly follow His lead as He leads me as His under-shepherd.

I wonder what world record we'll break this year...

Monday, October 01, 2007

Vacation over

Thanks to all who prayed for a restful, fun and enjoyable vacation for us. Your prayers were answered!

I saw some very large Koi, 2 deer, dozens of porpoise, and a tiny land turtle. The beach was the prettiest I've seen in the Carolinas and the water was clear and calm. The weather was sunny, clear and warm (but not too hot). We thoroughly enjoyed this gift from God.

Don't forget to take time to get away. Jesus did this with his disciples after a busy time of ministry. We find him retreating to the mountains a lot. If Jesus needed time to get away, then we do too. Don't skimp here. Get away.