Can you be at peace in a room where nobody gives you the time of day? Yes, because the source of peace is not whether people notice and accept you or ignore and dismiss you. The source of peace is God within you. That peace is never threatened and is not contingent upon any particular set of circumstances. The life of Jesus is the most compelling example. Few people will ever endure the extent of physical pain inflected upon Jesus. Few people will ever be so utterly rejected and despised as Jesus. He endured the full force of these realities, and yet Jesus was always at peace. Why? Because the source of Jesus' peace was not His human circumstances but his eternal reality. Jesus' peace could not be threatened, because the source could not be threatened.
Do you realize this peace? When Jesus said the peace He gives "is not as the world gives," He was seeking to awaken people to a whole other dimension of life. -Jim Palmer, Leader 22, p. 50 (emphasis mine)
Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Those you want to reach are far more interested in how welcomed and loved they feel when they walk through your doors than they are about where you are meeting.” (The survey results, titled “Where Should a New Church Meet?”, can be found at www.namb.net.)" From Collide Magazine
Monday, May 26, 2008
I haven't read Teselle's controversial book Pagan Christianity, but I like this quote.
As a pastor of a portable church I struggle with when to build a physical church building versus renting space. There's this constant tension from many of your people to build as if to say without a physical building that you own you're not a "real church". I don't think people realize they communicate that but it comes through pretty often. They think everything would be easier if we just had our own building. I'm here to tell you that it's easier not having one.
What do you think is easier and why?
And to the quote, do you think we live more like we are the church or our stuff is the church?
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
A couple of days ago I was running (I use that term very loosely) on my treadmill, watching a DVD sermon by Louie Giglio...and I was BLOWN AWAY! I want to share what I learned....but I fear not being able to convey it as well as I want. I will share anyway.Now tell me that our God is not the coolest!!!
He (Louie) was talking about how inconceivably BIG our God is...how He spoke the universe into being...how He breathes stars out of His mouth that are huge raging balls of fire...etc. etc. Then He went on to speak of how this star-breathing, universe creating God ALSO knitted our human bodies together with amazing detail and wonder. At this point I am LOVING it (fascinating from a medical standpoint, you know.) .....and I was remembering how I was constantly amazed during medical school as I learned more and more about God's handiwork. I remember so many times thinking....'How can ANYONE deny that a Creator did all of this?'
Louie went on to talk about how we can trust that the God who created all this, also has the power to hold it all together when things seem to be falling apart...how our loving Creator is also our sustainer.
And then I lost my breath.
And it wasn't because I was running my treadmill, either! It was because he started talking about laminin.
I knew about laminin. Here is how Wikipedia describes them :'Laminins are a family of proteins that are an integral part of the structural scaffolding of basement membranes in almost every animal tissue.' You see....laminins are what hold us together....LITERALLY. They are cell adhesion molecules. They are what holds one cell of our bodies to the next cell. Without them, we would literally fall apart. And I knew all this already. But what I didn't know is what laminin LOOKED LIKE.
But now I do.
And I have thought about it a thousand times sin ce (al ready)....Here is what the structure of laminin looks like...AND THIS IS NOT a 'Christian portrayal' of it....if you look up laminin in any scientific/medical piece of literature, this is what you will see...
The glue that holds us together....ALL of us....is in the shape of the cross.
Immediately Colossians 1:15-17 comes to mind:
The Supremacy of Christ15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. --Paul, Colossians 1:15-17 NIV Italics mine
Call me crazy. I just think that is very, very, very cool.
Thousands of years before the world knew anything about laminin, Paul penned those words. And now we see that from a very LITERAL standpoint, we are held together...one cell to another....by the cross.
You would never in a quadrillion years convince me that is anything other than the mark of a Creator who knew EXACTLY what laminin 'glue' would look like long before Adam even breathed his first breath!!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
World Vision has already provided aid to over 100,000 victims of the devastating cyclone. At least 1.5 million people were severely affected. Please help!
Following massive quake in China, World Vision seeks funding for relief and rehabilitation
Funny how God likes to use people in the "Real world" to teach us how to carry out His mission.
“I often went fishing up in Maine during the summer. Personally, I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish and said: ‘Wouldn't you like to have that?’ Why not use the same common sense when fishing for people?”
- Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
I apologize for the delay in getting back to you. We have been going through some personal "testing" down here in FL that has consumed not only our time but our energy and prayer life.
We are getting ready for our June trip and for next year, 2009, we would be delighted to have any of your parishioners go with us. The nurses would be a huge help and then they could come back with an "eye witness view" to go along with Linda's impressions over the past 15 years. What a beautiful christian woman Linda is. We are so blessed to have her in our lives. Your congregation sounds delightfully diverse.
Our Mutual Mission with Jamaica includes our entire Presbytery which is 62 churches from Jacksonville (North) to Palm Coast (South) to Lake City (West) in the state of Florida. It was started many years ago as an agricultural program and the Medical/Dental program we have today is an outgrowth of that original program (we no longer do agriculture). We also do an Adult & Youth Exchange and in both cases, our members go down there for 1 week and then the Jamaicans come to us for 1 week (10-15 per group). We try to stress the MUTUAL part because we do not want to imply that we are the ugly americans that can step in and take over their proud country.
Our Presbytery staffs (and bears the expense) of an office down in Jamaica that plans our programs with the member churches from the Moravian, United Church and Methodist denominations. We are known as SAMM (St. Augustine Mutual Mission) and they are known as JEMM (Jamaican Ecumenical Mutual Mission). We practice family medicine down there for the most part and Jim started the dental division in 1990. He started out with just doing extractions (carrying all the equipment from our office here in Jax) and then raised money over the years to buy portable dental units and chairs and generators to do restorative work.
The Jamaican government is very difficult to work with requiring all our volunteers to be "licensed" in Jamaica for the week each year that we are down there. The government too is very very difficult working with us getting meds, supplies and equipment into the country. We have done it for so long that our Presbytery office here in Jacksonville has learned to "play their game".
The costs to our participants is paid by the individual doctors and nurses that go and the cost of the medicines and supplies is paid for by the churches in our Presbytery. The charge for the week includes transportation and room and board and is $975 per volunteer and as I mentioned, is paid by each volunteer or the church that they attend. Jim does have a "cart and pony" show that he goes around to the various churches. After the presentation, they take up a love offering.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
So I came up with this (it's probably already out there in some form but here is my version) simple way to remember at least one more time each day to pray.
I'm calling it, Pray 1:23. A little cheesy but work with me on this.
Love God for 1 minute so you’ll love people the rest of the day.
Love God in 2 ways: 1. By praising him for who he is ("God is great, God is good" is who He is) and 2. By thanking Him for all He’s done. ("And we thank Him for our food" (all things--what He's done))
Love People 3 ways: 1. Inward-cleanse me and fill me, 2. Outward-blessed to be a blessing & 3. Upward-Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
But what's going to make this so powerful is that I'm challenging you to join me in praying at that moment each day. It's uncanny how many times our eyes catch that digital clock reading 1:23. So why not turn it into an ally. So I'm calling all of my church and all of you (yes, all 3 of you!) to join me in this simple but powerful discipline.
Use it and make it your own. If it gets others praying, I don't care who gets the credit.
Share any verses that are 1:23 that might be appropriate to include with this ally in this war we fight. For ex. Matthew 1:23 includes, "God with us." A pretty powerful reminder each day at 1:23.
"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"[a]—which means, "God with us." Matthew 1:23 NIV
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
This quote is from an author and pastor I am growing to love more and more. I read his book Glocalization which moved my strategy in missions from the drive by to the partnering mode. We're tackling Curacao this way. We plan to partner long-term building relationships and transforming more than individuals--we want to change the world! Bob's newest book is The Multiplying Church which I haven't read yet. But here is a quote from it:
Right now, there are a lot of disgruntled people trying to reinvent the church. It will never work. The church has never been birthed from frustrated people trying to reinvent something that’s lost its punch. Instead, it will be created by those who are passionately in love with Jesus–obeying Him and following Him at all cost–connecting with the big picture of the world and operating in the context of the Kingdom of God.From my perspective as a young pastor, I agree with this assessment. Tweaking today's church (in America in the south, anyway) is a lost cause. It requires radical surgery. Passion for Christ is the key prescription. May God pour our His Spirit on us so that we'll live out His passion fully and faithfully.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
The word is still getting out about Rob and Kady Payne's son Matthew and his brain tumor. Many have asked for more information and I'm going to facilitate that by pointing you to a very helpful resource that will keep you up to date. Below is a link that will take you there.
Please continue to pray for Rob, Kady, Abby and Matt as they walk this difficult journey. But they won't walk it alone! Between our presence and our prayers my hope is that we'll manifest the love of God continually for this beloved family of ours. When one part hurts--we all hurt. So join me in praying and encouraging them.
We're better together,
Dear Friends and Family,