If this wasn't so true about the sunday morning production it would be sad....instead it's just tragically funny. To all my fine feathered friends who spend your week preparing for the sunday show! Enjoy the exposure....
I love this explanation of the Gospel and the history of terms as Rob Bell describes them. I long for the heart of the Church to be as it began with the first group of followers (Christians). I long for it in myself. I long for it in those around me that claim Jesus as their Lord. I long for it in those that don't recognize Jesus. I long for it for those that need it most, not those that think they have it already. I long for it for those that don't want it but are so desperately seeking it. I long for God's Kingdom, now, today, here, on earth. I don't want to wait for Heaven, I want Jesus to bring his Kingdom here on earth as it is in Heaven. I long for love and restoration from the Empire. I long for connection with others committed to Jesus, not those trying to "fit him" into their schedules. I long for followers to realize that Church is who they are, it is not a place you go on Sunday mornings. I long for Jesus' Church and not Caesars!
Friends...Many of you know that in the recent past Brenda and I
began a journey to join a mission team in New Orleans. The physical
shift to NOLA did not end up being part of our stories, but the
community there is very close to my heart and is the reason I am
forwarding the following email along. Below is a letter from Mike Brantley, who leads the team in New Orleans:
Dear Friends and Family,
If you're reading this, you support us here in New Orleans, or pray for
us, for are friends, family and those in our lives here. Due to time
constraints, we're sending a mass email to all of you. So here goes...
We're deploying four of our team/community here in New Orleans to Haiti in 24 hours.
Why: You've seen the news - 200K dead and climbing. There are 20K/day dying from injuries, infection, etc.
How: We got a call from a sister team/community in Miami. They were
approached by people in Haiti and The Dominican Republic to help. Our
team there has been able to get in a couple of convoys of fuel to two
field hospitals on the verge of running out of fuel for their
generators. But the needs are so immense they need more boots on the
BUT it got the attention of the UN and the US Army's 82d Airborne
Division. The Army is supplying security and the UN is looking for fuel
What: We're going to establish a marshaling point, hopefully a
warehouse. From there, some people can purchase supplies (Medical, Rx,
Food, Water and Fuel). We'll then convoy it and while they are gone,
begin marshaling supplies for the next run. The convoy will make the 12
hour trip to Port au Prince, and drop it to a distribution point we're
setting up. We expect a couple of us to be in Port-au-Prince running
Expect Chad and Kyle to be in Santiago operating the logistics
point and Adam and I in Haiti (for the French speaking and liaising
with the US Army). BUT that can change when we hit the ground. We could
all four end up in the Haiti distribution point. We'll see!
Tonight, we spent several hours getting poked with the tropic
regimen for deployment to a disaster zone... Ouch! Sore! Now it's time
to wash, pack and get ready to go.
When: We deploy Friday 22nd, and return a month to six weeks
later. For many, this will be huge. For our own families, for our work
here in New Orleans and for the kids we coach.
Some other details:
1. We expect to have communication with people back here.
2. We may be gone 4 weeks, but maybe 6 weeks.
3. This will impact our work with lacrosse, but our parents, coaches and guys are super.
4. This is fluid and we don't know what to expect yet. We may deploy
two women in our community, but we need to assess the situation,
discover what logistical situation we're in, etc.
What can you do?
1. Pray for us, regularly!
2. Help The people left back here (if you're local). They'll need help
with keeping the grass cut, playing with the kids, meals, etc.
3. We need money! ! ! ! If we raised a $1M, it would not be enough...
the needs are so huge. We'll use the funds to get us there, keep us
there, and then for supplies! 100% of the funds will go to the
You can contribute in several ways and every donation will get a
tax deductible receipt from our 501 (c) 3 organization. Here are the
details on how to do that:
1. Checks made out to “Communitas New Orleans”. Mail to 2539 Octavia Street, New Orleans, LA 70115-6535
2. Wires can be sent (but they cost $15) Email:
email@example.com. Our people staying back in New Orleans
helping with the kids, working, managing donations, etc will get the
routing process if you want to wire money.
3. Online at www.Paypal.com
Can use debit or credit card, or paypal account. Email address is
firstname.lastname@example.org In the instruction field leave mailing address
for receipt – otherwise we won’t be able to know who it’s from that we
can send a receipt for your taxes.
Look, we don't really "want" to go. We have lives here, families
and responsibilities. Yet, the need is compelling and our Miami team is
begging us for help. This is what we're about - Christ with flesh here
and now. We don't feel like heroes or special. We don't know what to
expect. We simply got a phone call. Your friendship and support is so
appreciated. Your prayers are coveted.
"The Church is the people of God. The Latin word for "church," ecclesia,
comes from the Greek ek, which means "out," and kaleo, which means "to
call." The Church is the people of God called out of slavery to
freedom, sin to salvation, despair to hope, darkness to light, an
existence centered on death to an existence focused on life.
When we think of Church we have to think of a body of people,
travelling together. We have to envision women, men, and children of
all ages, races, and societies supporting one another on their long and
often tiresome journeys to their final home."
I am not reading 1 John Chapter 3 this week like my Tall Monastic friend Ryan Taylor but I agree with the message this song/video brings and thought it was worth posting. It is catching little tune that may offend some peoples sense of who they've created their image of God to be.
In my reading this week I came across an excerpt out of No Little People (a collection of sermons by Francis Schaeffer). Here is what Schaeffer wrote:
"Both the Scriptures and the history of the church teach that if the Holy Spirit is working, the whole man will be involved and there will be much cost to the Christian. The more the Holy Spirit works, the more Christians will be used in battle, and the more they are used, the more there will be personal cost and tiredness. It is quite the opposite of what we might first think. People often cry out for the work of the Holy Spirit and forget that when the Holy Spirit works, there is always tremendous cost to the people of God, weariness and tears and battles."
This seems to ring true in my life and in the lives of those I know who are actively praying to live and move and have our being in Him, to be directed by the Holy Spirit. When this is your bent in life it will come at a personal cost.
You will be tired....do you have the discipline to make time to rest and rejuvenate?
Spiritual warfare will come at an intense pace....do you have the eyes to see it and the companions to battle it?
Weariness and tears and battles will ensue daily....do you have the perseverance and support of community to endure?
Schaeffer is right, this seems very counter intuitive for our simulated fabrications of how the Holy Spirit moves. We often see the Holy Spirit like the ice-cream man who only brings good things for us to experience and eat and ride the sugar high.
And most people will limit the moving of the holy spirit to an event, an hour of produced emotional manipulation that the programmers have conjured up, so we can willingly offer ourselves to the experience. And if we feel the tinge of emotional up-rise internally, like a good story will naturally cause, we say wow, the holy spirit was really moving this hour, I could feel him.
But maybe, just maybe the scriptures are right and we are wrong about how the Holy Spirit moves. Schaeffer's insight to the scriptures and the history of the church are sobering. When the Holy Spirit works, there is always tremendous cost to the people of God....weariness....and tears....and battles. So let's not mistake the emotional high of a weekend experience that was crafted to give us the high we seek, with the true working of the Holy Spirit.
If you are crying out for the Holy Spirit to move in your life and in the lives of those around you and it seems that things are not going smooth, you are getting weary and life is difficult, don't be surprised. When you pray for the Holy Spirit to move, life is not lived beyond the fray but rather it is lived right in the middle. Offer your praise to God and get real with your faith community and go to battle, because whenever the Holy Spirit moves the enemy will be there.
Fellow blogger, Bob Hyatt, Pastor at Evergreen Church in Portland Oregon, has posted his thoughts of the success they are seeing in their faith community through declining numbers and lower giving. Of all the pastors I have talked to, and read, about "how" they define success, I think Bob has the most accurate perspective that I have read or heard so far on what really makes a local church successful!