Monthly Archives: March 2011

Mexico, tea cups, evil forces, & the Johnsons

We officially launched our support this last week at our home church. It was a great morning and we had the honor of having Charlie Davis speak after our missions report.

Charlie is the Executive Director of TEAM or in other words our boss’s, boss’s, boss’s boss. It was a great message and I would highly encourage everyone to listen.

Wonder what Mexico, evil forces, tea-cups, and the Johnson’s have in common? Listen to find out.

LISTEN HERE

Or you can download a version HERE to listen to on one of your fancy portable media players.

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Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The lust, the flesh, the eyes and pride of life…

So this last week we officially put our house on the market. This was harder than we anticipated, not in the fact that it took physical work to get it ready, but in the fact that we had to work on emotionally and spiritually letting go of things we put our trust and security in.

We love our kitchen, the backyard, the deck and garden, the shower, the new washer and dryer we bought two years ago…basically we love our house. It was a place of peace and security…even with three young crazy and beautiful children in it!

But for how much we like to think we aren’t attached to our possessions…it took us saying bye to these things for us to realize how much we really do take pride and security in our material possessions. They give us a sense of accomplishment, a sense of security, and a sense of peace.

But is this ultimately where we are to put our trust and security…

“15Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17

What do you put your trust, security, and peace in?

….Really?…Think hard about it before answering…

Think about it as you listen to this old and great song by the 77s…

Lyrics:

Well, I feel
Like I have to feel
Something good all of the time
With most of life I cannot deal
But a good feeling I can feel
Even though it may not be real
And if a person, place or thing can deliver
I will quiver with delight
But will it last me for all my life
Or just one more lonely night

The lust, the flesh
The eyes
And the pride of life
Drain the life
Right out of me

Well, I see something and I want it
Bam! Right now!
No questions asked
Don’t worry how much it costs me now or later
I want it and I want it fast
I’ll go to any length
Sacrifice all that I already have
And all that I might get
Just to get
Something more that I don’t need
And Lord, please don’t ask me what for

The lust, the flesh
The eyes
And the pride of life
Drain the life
Right out of me

And I love when folks
Look right at me
And what I’m doing
Or have done
And lay it on about
How groovy I am
And that I’m looking grand
And every single word
Makes me think I’ll live forever
Never knowing that they probably
Won’t remember what they said tomorrow
Tomorrow I could be dead

The lust, the flesh
The eyes
And the pride of life
Drain the life
Right out of me

Categories: Family, prayer | 2 Comments

“Bee” Missionaries Part II

We continue our “Bee” Missionary series with a simple declaration. I wanted to share this last week but felt it best to have it as a stand alone declaration for all to read.

The “Bee” Missionary Declaration is adapted from the book Exclusion and Embrace by Miroslav Volf. For the record Volf doesn’t use this “bee” terminology, although I think the analogy still fits. Here is how he prefaces the following declaration.

“Let me suggest a confession-like text that expresses the need for ecumenical community in the struggle against ‘new tribalism.’ I will follow the format of the Barmen Declaration.”

So here you go…I will re-title it the “Bee” Missionary Declaration:

“You [Jesus Christ] were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God saints from every tribe and language and people and nation. [Revelation 5:9] There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus [Galatians 3:28].

All the churches of Jesus Christ, scattered in diverse cultures, have been redeemed for God by the blood of the Lamb to form one multicultural community of faith. The ‘blood’ that binds them as brothers and sisters is more precious than the ‘blood,’ the language, the customs, political allegiances, or economic interests that may separate them.

We reject the false doctrine, as though a church should place allegiance to the culture it inhabits and the nation to which it belongs above the commitment to brothers and sisters from other cultures and nations, servants of the one Jesus Christ, their common Lord, and members of God’s new community.”

Categories: Mission, Vision | Leave a comment

“Bee” Missionaries

Prepost Notice: I apologize for the longer post (not really) but I think (I hope) that it will be worth your time to read…I really do think it will be worth your time…or at least give you something to think about…

So the other day I was having a long-awaited lunch with a friend and pastor buddy of mine…during our lunch he asked me a great question:

“What would you want to tell churches as you leave for the mission field? If you could only say one thing what would it be?”

Wow…this was a great question and my response was something about needing missionaries that acted like bees. Following is a much better articulation of what I mean from a great book I’m currently reading called Exclusion & Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation by Miroslav Volf

Here’s a beginning quote from Volf:

“In order to keep our allegiance to Jesus Christ pure, we need to nurture commitment to the multicultural community of Christian churches. We need to see ourselves and our own understanding of God’s future with the eyes of Christians from other cultures, listen to the voices of Christians from other cultures so as to make sure that the voice of our own culture has not drowned out the voice of Jesus Christ, ‘the one Word of God.'”

Here’s the bottom line question that goes through my mind and I know many other people because they’ve asked…”Why missions? I mean aren’t there enough needs in your own neighborhood to give your life to? Can’t you just send money? Why do you need to move out of the country? Can’t you do that all from right here?”

My immediate response to that (or at least what I’m going to say from now on) is of, “Of course I could! There are needs here to devote my life to but missions isn’t about needs. Missions is bigger…much, much bigger. We need to have a bigger view of the Church and the kingdom of God.”

There are certainly needs here in our own country and my own neighborhood that are worthy of attention and I don’t want to diminish these. We need followers of Christ and churches to stop passing the buck and reach out to the needs in our own communities. We should never turn a blind eye to our literal neighbor in pursuit of our worldly neighbors. (Hypocrisy abounds here…but we won’t go there.) However, this doesn’t negate the need for cross-cultural work.

Cross cultural missions is not ultimately about meeting people’s needs…It’s ultimately about the Kingdom of God and praying “on earth as it is in heaven,” “where people from every tribe, language, and nation” will worship before God.”

The Church is called to be unified and not just on an individual and local level, but ultimately on an ecumenical and global level. The Church needs workers to be bridge builders, to be cross-cultural kingdom workers to build unity in the broader Church. It’s not that the Mexican church needs us…no…the Mexican church needs us AND we need them. Christ calls us (ALL those who believe in him) to be unified. Here is what Christ himself prays for all believers in John 17:

“22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

This unity is not some ethereal, liberal, fundamentalist, neo, postmodern, romantic, idealistic, hocus-pocus, or whatever else you may want to call it…idea. No it is a real and pragmatic unity that Christ calls us toward and it is something that one of my former professors calls the Great Communion. Mainly that we, the Church, are called to be unified as the triune God is unified. And Christ says if we are unified THEN the “world will know that you sent me and have loved them EVEN as you have loved me.” This unity is both for the individual, local, and global church. (The implications here are numerous but I want to mainly think about global unity.)

So to answer the question, “Why Missions?” My simple (and perhaps shorter response would be, “Because the Church needs it.” As flowers, vegetables, and fruits need bees to be cross-pollinators to bear fruit so the Church needs workers to be cross-cultural bridge builders for the kingdom of God. This can’t be by churches staying in their own culture or by churches simply giving monetary donations overseas. No it takes an incarnational presence of actual people to help build these bridges and I would humbly suggest that this is one task of the cross-cultural missionary. (A task that I’m passionate about…if you couldn’t tell.) This “cross-pollination” between churches builds unity and health within the kingdom of God and helps increase the witness of God to the world.

So here you go…the punch line….the Church needs people to “bee” missionaries. It is not solely about needs it is ultimately about the kingdom of God.

Categories: Mission, Vision | 3 Comments

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