Sunday, December 19, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
15: Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body we are called to peace. And be thankful.
I have wrestled with this question many times, "What would it look like if the Kingdom here on earth truly looked like one body?". If we truly acted as one body then what should our response be as the Church to yahoos that protest funerals, quit there jobs to stand in front of future sites of Muslim community centers, shoot abortion doctors in their own churches, or stand on college campuses and degrade: homosexuals, liberals, the Greek system, and the singing of the National Anthem at sporting events? I by no means have any answers here, I am just thinking out loud but it seems to me that when there is a part of our physical body that is broken we do what is necessary to fix it. Why don't we try to fix the parts of our Church Body that are broken? Why do I sit back as those people in my states capital defame the Man that I live my life for? We cannot tolerate Jesus being the copout to write off not-so-blind ignorance.
I want to be a part of a Body of Peace. I just wish I knew how to fix our broken Limbs peacefully.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
“But I tell you anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, Raca, is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says; ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of Hell.”
There is a lot going on in this verse, there are probably a few words that you don’t know or are easily misunderstood. That’s cool look them up later. I am in the same boat.
Jump into something with me and lets look at the statement, ‘You fool!’ The Greek word for ‘fool’ in this context is Moros, which stems from the word Moraino that means; to make foolish, show one foolish; to become a fool, be made a fool. Cool, I can deal with that, nothing about those descriptions gives me too much trouble except another description of this word ‘Fool’ or Moraino is “to become saltless, tasteless, inert.”
The description “Saltless or tasteless” is troubling to me. That one hits a nerve.
See, Jesus, 9 verses earlier called his followers the “Salt of the earth”. He was stating that we were the only hope to bring his flavor to earth and have it carried out, we are the hope that will make others lives taste good because of him. He is the seasoning inside of us. When we speak against one another we are trying to rip the Jesus out of each other. This is a harsh reality for me, sarcasm is my most fluent language and here Jesus is admonishing the fact that with each sarcastic twist of my tongue I am inching closer to the edge of hell because with each one of those statements I am choking the Jesus out of those around me. With my sarcasm, I am making Christ followers around me bland by tearing at them, which in turn is making the image of Christ bland as well. If I make his followers have no flavor then why would anyone desire to ‘taste’ like him? There is only so much blah food one person can take before they move onto the next course of the meal.
Also, we need to realize that by making other around us less salty we are making ourselves “tasteless”. Nothing ruins a meal more than something on the plate being tasteless. No one uses hard-tack as the bread of their sandwiches because it has no flavor which would in turn take away from the flavor of the meat.
Our actions are what make the ‘meal’ enjoyable, and the way we speak to one another is what dictates the flavor.
I am called to be the salt of the earth not the ‘Fool’ that throws it out and tramples on it. I want to be flavorful not just substance.
Recommended scripture for today’s topic: Matthew 5:13-16, and Matthew 5:21-26.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
8 This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.14 You are my friends if you do what I command.15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.17 This is my command: Love each other.
For some reason this passage of eight or nine very short verses struck a pretty weighty cord in my heart. It really opened my eyes to what being "Missional" should be.
Now I know this is a stretch but bear with me.
Mission to me as a personal interpretation of John 15:
1. We are being called into "Friendship" with the targeted Mission Field not into some awkward teacher/pupil relationship (John 15:15).
2. We SERVE the Mission Field we desire to reach until we are entrusted with FRIENDSHIP. We then share life and expose Christ's identity through our trusted love to them (the Mission Field) meanwhile never neglecting our responsibility to SERVE them (John 15:12,13).
3. Being "missional" is a slow, painful, uncomfortable, non-gratifying process -- which is exactly why we must find rest in Christ. Jesus is the one who makes it worth it (John 15:11)
Here is a time-line, for lack of a better term, that I have put together to illustrate my above thoughts:
Establish MISSION Field------Establish appropriate SERVANT-HOOD------Establish FRIENDSHIP-------Establish EXPECTATIONS-------REVEAL CHRIST through Each of these Establishments
To me "missional" is a fun, trendy way of saying "discipleship." Which I am totally cool with, I am a firm believer in the FACT that there must be change and growth to maintain/create momentum. So with that said I would like to change an old title myself, from now on instead of being referred to as a "missionary," I would like to be referred to as a "disciplinary"...wait...now that I said that out-loud I don't feel like that will fly... how about you just keep calling me, "Guy who is doing something weird in KCK."
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
“This is what the Lord says – he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams. One will say, ‘I belong to the Lord’; another will call himself by the name of Jacob; still another will write on his hand, ‘The Lord’s,’ and will take the name of Israel.”
I used to walk through campus at my university and pray this passage specifically over each of the fraternities, especially mine. I prayed that ministry would take place in each one of those communities and that God would honor His promise of blessing the spiritual future of those houses by raising up indigenous leaders in the present. Campus was a place that could easily overwhelm one with regulations, demonic stronghold, and resistance… much like urban areas.
I have found myself relying on God in KCK the exact way I did on campus, by relentless prayer. Similar to campus I walk the streets of my neighborhood and pray this same cry of Israel over the ministry of Mission House and the potential impact for the Kingdom that is attainable. I pray that God will use us to equip, motivate, and empower the people of our community to live in light of the Gospel and to be a people that is not motivated by self-gain but a people motivated by a heart that gives itself away. In turn this example will build a foundation of Jesus Christ that will be lived and taught for generations to come.
Join me in prayer…
1. I will pour out my spirit on your offspring. (Isaiah 44:3)
One of the greatest joys of ministry is the fact that we get to build relationships with new people because God built a relationship with us through Jesus. The best part about building new relationships is that God shows up through us in the lives of others.
Pray for lasting relationships.
2. The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. (Matthew 9:37)
The key component of Mission House each year is a good group of interns committed to surrendering to the direction of Jesus Christ and allowing their hearts to be broken for the people and circumstances of our community.
Pray for our core interns.
3. Do not be anxious about anything. (Philippians 4:6)
It has become easy to get overwhelmed with the details and pressures of starting a new ministry. Jesus directs us to trust the plan and lay our burdens on Him. Pray for the ability to trust.
4. Give and it will be given to you. (Luke 6:38)
As we establish Mission House and begin to bless and be a part of our new neighborhood, we are dependent on outside individuals, families, churches, and organizations to bless us with financial stability. I am quickly realizing that ministry is a collaboration of resources, which is exciting because we get to be a part of God’s work together.
Pray for financial stability.
5. Let my words be few (Ecclesiastes 5:2)
As we begin to unfold and unpack more of the vision that God has for Mission House let us not over think and overreact to His calling. Help us stay true to God’s plan and be open to his direction, even if it changes our vision.
Pray for wisdom.
PO Box 172365
Kansas City, Kansas 66117
Friday, May 28, 2010
Today was a good day for evaluation and reflection. My busy day consisted of driving from one end of the city and back...twice, so I got a fair amount of time to think. The thought that continually puzzled me was, "what are things in modern day life that I would identify as compassion?" I thought through this for a while and came up with some good ideas but I think the realization that I came to was that compassion like very few other things in life is one of those actions that you cant really limit to a spectrum. Compassion, while incredibly easy, is one of those acts that is so great and so much larger than our imaginations that we cant try to categorize it or force it into lists. I guess for me compassion is just one of those things that I hope I get to encounter and pass on each and everyday, no act in particular.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
There is a convenience that comes naturally with blaming things on the devil. We, or at least I, have many different ways of saying the ultimate cop-out, "the devil made me do it." Call it spiritual warfare, call it what you wish but what it comes down to is that too often we seem to neglect responsibility for our actions and chalk it up so demonic intervention of the underworlds divinity. I am terrible when it comes to this. -- I do truly believe that as Christ followers we come under attack and must always be on guard, Satan is trying to creep in at all times, I understand that. -- But, I also don't believe that we should relieve ourselves of responsibility because times are tough. I am the worst when it comes to sinning and ignoring the voice inside of me that tells me to stop at the same time. I feel that I have an incredible intuition to act on my gut which gives me absolutely no reason to blame daily sin that is habitual on some force that is greater than I. I would agree that my sin is influenced by darkness but I am not willing to give Satan enough credit to say that he has control over me. I need to be "an instrument of righteousness" and if I am not it is because I am not cutting it, not because "the devil made me do it."
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
So first things first. I have had the opportunity to follow a dream laid on my heart. I can truly tell you that I believe that it is a complete divine commissioning and I get to act on it. Its a trip. I am starting a cross-cultural internship program for college-aged students in KCK. Its an opportunity to live in community and experience the love of Christ by being the hands and feet of his exciting ministry. The best part about being a missionary (for lack of a better term) is the demand to rely on people. I will be frank in saying that more so than any other time in my life everything is completely out of my control... I mean my stinkin salary is in the hands of grateful donors who believe in what God is doing through Mission House. Oh yea, the organization is called Mission House. Cool, way more on that some other time.
In my new experience with Mission House I have had the opportunity to meet some really incredible people. I feel absolutely blessed by the people that God has put on my path. Everyone from experienced church planters and progressives of international missions to unemployed illegal immigrants and refugees. I truly feel as if I have the greatest job in the world. God chose me specifically for this!
The other day one of these new friends was asking me a question about a parable in the Gospel of Luke that I will admit is very difficult to grasp especially for those who do not understand the style of Jesus' teachings. The question was about Luke 9: 57-62.
57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 59 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good‑by to my family.” 62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
The young lady whom I was speaking with posed her confusion and puzzlement due to the fact that Jesus seemed insensitive to the situation that these two men wanted to be with there families. Understandable. I was a bit thrown off to be quite honest when she brought up her question, It wasn't the typical investigative setting but it did get me to think about and wrestle with this passage.
First, I don't think Jesus was very sensitive when it came to his ministry, as far as compassion is concerned he is the most sensitive person to ever walk the face of the earth, as far has his ministry is concerned he is the most focused and passionate man to ever walk the face of the earth. He got it that he was on a mission.
I loved playing baseball as a kid. Absolutely loved it. I was awkward and no one was ever overally excited to be on my team but I truly enjoyed the game for what it is, a game. There is a science to baseball and that fascinates me. I would try to play baseball every single day in my backyard with my neighbors. Here is the first part that eludes to the science of the sport, variables. The neighbor kids that I grew up around are the variables, if they had things to do that they felt were more important then there was no baseball.
Spiritual life is similar. We are the variables in Jesus' ministry. If we start our ministry with excuses the likelihood of us ever making it to the game are pretty slim. Jesus was making the point that if today you want to leave to say good bye to your family then tomorrow you will find some other loose-end that needs tying up before you commit to following. We must remember that Jesus wasn't insensitive he was passionate and expectant and the inability to commit is not a trait that He looks for on our résumé.
What a great question she posed. I love my job, have I said that already?