Monday, December 22, 2003

Nice article here about the Act One screenwriting program in Hollywood. Neat to hear about Christians working in Hollywood. Here is her blog.

Had breakfast with my friend Ryan, who is back from Melbourne Australia for a few weeks. Very cool just to catch up and here about Australia. He is there with Campus Crusade, who has a long term commitment to building college ministry in Melbourne. The most significant thing - 'People don't think about what happens when you die. When you ask them, they say they don't know and they've never ever thought about it. And the conversation just stops. That's where relational ministry becomes important because when they get to know you, they ask why you are so different.'

On the Urbana note, we got three cars volunteered up from families of kids that are going. Very great news. I have officially turned over the coordination to the couple that are going, which is great news also. Very excited for these kids though, my biggest prayer is that God will give them a new idea of success (that is not about the lies Satan tempts us with) and that they will get the gist of the essential task.

Listened to a tape from Perspectives again (I've listened to it many many times). Its a lecture on Elements of Historical Revivals and The Three Eras of Christian Missions. Again, so many many good things from it. Here are some key points:
- 24K people groups in the world, 10K unreached right now.
- The Moravians (more info here) and their missions had 4 senders for every missionary. So...
* 5 church planters for every unreached people group = 50,000 people
* 4 senders for every missionary = 200,000 people
* total = 250,000 people
* there are over 250,000 evangelical Christians in the state of Colorado alone.
** the American church could easily do this....

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Celebrated K's birthday and part of Christmas tonight with D's aunt and uncle and my parents. Very fun. Nice small party for the girlies. This was a big hit for Christmas, along with lots of Barbie stuff...

Had a potluck for our neighbors last night, very very fun. Lots of diversity here. In 8 families, two are Indian, three are Caucasian (one of them is a mixed-race Caucasian and Panamanian), one African American, one Korean, and then us.... Ha. Chinese, yes, definitely. A great part was having this whole mix of different kinds of food. Will be neat to see as the years go by what impact we make on them.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Pray for the people from GCC going to Urbana. Specifically, in the next day or so, pray for two vehicles to be provided. Great group of kids, looking forward to seeing how the conference changes and transforms them. I guess the biggest thing I would like to see is a changing of their understanding for what success truly is.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Great challenge/encouragement from a youthworker here.
Key points include:

- "We have to grasp that, in this post-modern world, young people are far more engaged by people who 'do' the truth, rather than those who assert it."
Right on. I think thats all a part of true discipleship. Youth ministry has primarily been about youth group meetings, not neccessarily living your faith out. And I think when we talk about reaching the world for Christ, true missions, young people have missed out, because we don't talk about it, and we certainly, in most cases, don't model being a disciple, around town, much less around the world.

- "Imagine a small church where there is no youth leader and no youth meetings, just a handful of teenagers who help lead the Sunday School during the Sunday service."
I think that's it. What I love about GCC so much is that our ministry is leader-driven, student-led. Meaning students are up front as much as possible with leaders behind the scenes, doing that empowerment, encouraging, challenging. It really also fits in with the whole 'indigenous' leader idea that people in missions have been talking about of late.

- "We need to start telling these stories again, inspiring and challenging our young people with the rich resources of our Christian history."
This is something that I think I should focus on too. People LOVE to hear a good story. Chris Curtis, the guy that wrote this, said that he watched 52 movies in the year 2003, all for the purpose of looking at the whole story. Wow.

- Some final questions Chris asks:
1. What is more important in my youth work, what I achieve or who I am becoming?
2. What gets more of my attention and energy: the youth programme or the young people?
3. Am I prepared to admit to young people there is a dark side to my life?
4. Am I prepared to risk failure or do I play it safe?
I love question #1. In order to win students to Christ these days, we have to be authentic. A well run youth night with great games and a pretty good talk doesn't do it anymore, nor should it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

So Im possibly printing some christmas cards from the web, using some templates at It's kind of cool, since I just bought a new photo printer this past weekend. Of course, did I really need a new printer? No, not really. It's a luxury. Anyway, K and I were joking about phrases to use on Christmas cards in our very well to do American society, keeping in mind the global condition of the rest of the world...

- hoping jesus is preached in your life this season
- so wow, 30 million don't have food today. when was your last week long fast?
- at least you have access to clean water
- be glad jesus doesn't care that you don't
- 1.2 billion lived on $1 today. i think it's time for a frappachino (this was my personal favorite)
- how do you feel drinking bottled water because your tap doesn't taste good? At least you don't get intestional problems from it.

Very pious huh? Well, it was funny at the time....

SEMP dates are now online. Baltimore is July 17 - July 23. Hott.

SEMP fits in, I think, to a long term strategy in that it is awesome training for sharing your faith in the same culture, which can lead to a cross-cultural experience once students are trained and have an experience in the same culture. I took a group to SEMP in 1999, in Baltimore, right down the street from where we live. Even though we go to the Inner Harbot all the time, and that is where I proposed to D, I will always still remember talking to people about Jesus right in front of the Hard Rock Cafe.
As they say, they are trying to raise a movement of youth evangelism. I think its working. They not only teach you about how to do it, very well I might add, they engage kids in dealing with their friends back home by praying for 3 friends months before the conference starts, writing letters to them while they are there, and actually sending them on the Thursday during the week. It's pretty intense when 600 kids are dropping their letters back home in a big bin, having a huge worship service around the idea, and then praying for this big bucket that is going right to the Post Office.
Along the same lines is DCLA, put on by Youth for Christ. DCLA only occurs every 3 years and last year it was in DC, LA and somewhere in the midwest, St. Louis I think. I went for a day last summer to DCLA with KN, my young padwan. It was pretty fun, but I dont think we got a real feel for the whole event because we were only there for one day. Most of our time was spent in the exhibit hall since we were adult volunteers. In all that time, I didn't think I saw one youth missions organization that really got it, by that I mean, understood the essential task for reaching unreached people groups. Out of 8000 kids in DC for that conference, if only 10% of them got the vision for the unreached, think of that potential.
The other thing I have thought, between Sonlife and YFC, not to bash one or the other... But Sonlife has this pretty cool setup with some international youth ministries and is really focused on at least church planting where there is no church. YFC doesn't seem to really get that. YFC has a big missions arm, but most of that seems to just take kids out to experience something cross-cultural. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against growing and discipling kids, but using 'missions' to do it, when we aren't being strategic, when we haven't worked with indigenous ministries, when we haven't been able to do something that has good followup, thats where we need to start doing some missions that is strategic but also accountable. It reminds me of the statistic that 33% of short term missions trips do harm to the people they try to reach. Of course, keep in mind, I don't have ANY first hand info about YFC mission trips, just the literature. So I could be WAAAAAY off base.
Some info here on Sonlife's International connection. Plus, I think their youth ministry training is top-notch, and Biblical.

Being a youthworker, trends in the society for students always interests me. Looks like weblogs is certainly a trend that is here to stay. Of course I have one.... haha. Anyway, here is an interesting graph from livejournal, which shows the distribution of users by age. Notice why its a youth trend.

Good article about urban house church planting. Really great points, not just about church planting, but discipleship and mission as a whole:

- Recent studies of American Christianity have demonstrated the church in America talks about personal discipleship, but does not practice it (See George Barna, Growing Effective Disciples). In healthy home churches most of the members should either be trying to disciple others or be under discipleship by others.
- Leaders of an existing home church will look for ways to plant a new home church naturally, not artificially. By natural, we mean they will seek to keep young Christians together with those to whom they minister and with whom they have invested relationally.
- Our best church planting teams have regular times of prayer together for the mission of the church. A good prayer meeting should be based on a prayer list prepared in advance by one of the members. Praying for non-Christian friends by name as well as key goals in the home church will turn back the attacks of the evil one and unleash the power of God into the church.
- The refusal to plant a new church was usually based mainly on the fact that members didn't want to upset a situation they saw as very happy and wholesome. In our view, such groups are far from wholesome. They are desperately sick! The members have come to see the home church as something that exists for their well-being and happiness, not for accomplishing the will of God. A well-led home church sees itself as a team setting out to accomplish a mission, even at the expense of acute personal suffering. Members in a successful church-planting movement see themselves as participants in a vast, spiritual war. Both concern for the lost and excitement over the fact that we are going to win drive them forward to a position of self-sacrificial love.
- American church leaders tend to interpret the biblical picture of church planting in very superficial and non-demanding ways. Leadership in a home church is seen as something that must not significantly interfere with typical bourgeois American middle-class living. American culture already places heavy time demands on the modern family that may interfere with an adequate family life. (**Ouch, because its so true.)
- We have talked with quite a few churches who started a home group ministry, only to see the groups turn inward and lose evangelistic effectiveness. Such groups are mainly interested in blessing each other and have lost the excitement of evangelism. This pathology is desperate because it is extremely hard to turn around. If anything, we believe that groups who turn inward are in even worse shape than impatient or superficial groups.

Also, Xenos is also listed in Tom Telford's (from the ACMC) book Today's All Star Missions Churches.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

from the Friday Fax...

Friday Fax 2003 Issue 48, 12 December

Has Bin Laden started a new search for Jesus?
Religious and ideological pressure is not going in the intended direction, so
"Osama Bin Laden may have helped many Muslims find Jesus", according to
missions expert and author Patrick Johnstone. "Tens of thousands of Iranians
came to faith in Jesus because of Ayatollah Khomeni. Since 11 September 2001,
the number of Muslims seeking alternatives has grown massively. Many are afraid
of extremism, and many are afraid to say anything at all, but many are secretly
searching. There have been breakthroughs in Northern Africa, Indonesia and
Nigeria, where the Gospel is bringing fruit. Thirty percent of India's Dalits
are considering a change of religion, and a growing number are finding Jesus.
Opinions Buddhism also has widely varying opinions, and is losing credit
because of developments in the past decade. Major ideological blocs are not as
impenetrable as we may initially believe," he said, calling for prayer for the
parts of the world opening for the Gospel, and on Western Christians to make
themselves available to God for long-term missionary work.
Source: Patrick Johnstone
A Biblical worldview, defined by Barna:

- that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life
- God is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe and He stills rules it today
- salvation is a gift from God and cannot be earned
- Satan is real
- a Christian has a responsibility to share their faith in Christ with other people
- and the Bible is accurate in all of its teachings

Read more here.

The fifth one reminds me of the story Dr. Clive Calver tells of a wife he met in some Third world country (I forget specifically which one), there with her husband the pastor and her two young children. He asked her where her husband was, and she responded that he was out at the next village preaching Jesus. (This is all a paraphrase...)
"How long have you been here?"
"About a year"
"What happened to your predecessor"
"Well, he came to the village preaching this strange, different god. And then the drought came, and nobody had any water or food. So they killed him."
"And what motivated you to come here and do this?"
"We are Christians. Isn't that what all Christians do?"
So the effective method of catching Sadam was "figuring out the former Iraqi president's clan and family support structures". Interesting how that works huh.... Read more here.
Also reminds me of the ideas taught in Perspectives about clans and family structures, how whole family to family ministry, especially outside the Western world, is one of the best ways to reach people and plant churches.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Lots of links tonight and thoughts tonight... (It's a slow night covering a production release...)

Here is a very interesting article about a former Playboy playmate doing incredible community development work in Haiti.

A few things got my attention:
- that she specifically went to the worst of the slums.
- it seems like she is not just throwing short term solutions but looking at long term methods (ie not just feeding them but teaching them how to feed themselves...)
- 16,000 children on $13,500 a month. wow.
- look at how she handles the finances, low to zero overhead

A free DVD on missions, the IMB International Missions Emphasis 2003. Order it for free here

Very nice, could be a very good resource for discussing with people.
Being a tentmaker and rebuilding Afghanistan here

- only 21% of women and 51% of men can read
- 40% of university professors are homeless
- "If tentmakers never open their mouths, I think that's deceptive. If I simply only use my credentials as an agenda to get me in, so I can start preaching to people, that's false. I don't live two lives. I'm a Christian with five degrees."

Reaching out to prostitutes in Vancouver here
Wow. Got some seriously cool things from the mail in the past few days. Suffice to say that 3 out of 4 items were financial windfalls, very awesome. But the 4th is just as cool - this book sent to me by my senior pastor, Pastor M. Wow, an awesome book from a great pastor!
I'm going through the book soon and will make some notes.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Just got comments working. Nice. Pretty simple. If you use HaloScan, make sure Step 1 code is outside of your style tags...
If you are reading this, would you please comment? I would appreciate that, because I think the only person I am writing to is myself. I mean, thats ok too...

Check out the conversation on youth mission trips over at NakedChurch I jumped in too and added my .02.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

I can't get over some of the images found here. Reminds me of the book Good News About Injustice. It's pretty tragic. And we sit in the US and do virtually nothing.

Update -
more historical info on the genocide in Rwanda here. Be forewarned.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Series of articles on homeless in San Francisco. Be prepared to be heartbroken if you read it, its quite intense.

In total contrast with my principles and values, I watched this movie the other night.... I felt dirty. I made it up by making some notes from Piper . I think I redeemed myself. I've posted notes from it down below, its just from the Conclusion page. It's pretty heavy reading though, I definitely have to read it again.

Notes - Let the Nations be Glad!
The ultimate goal of God in all of history is to uphold and display his glory for the enjoyment of the redeemed from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. His goal is the gladness of his people, because God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.

Therefore, worship is the fuel and the goal of missions. Worship is the goal of missions because in missions we aim to bring the nations into the white-hot enjoyment of God’s glory. It is the fuel of missions because we can’t commend what we don’t cherish. We can’t call out, “Let the nations be glad!’’ until we say ,”I rejoice in the Lord.” Missions begins and ends with worship.

Prayer puts God in the place of the all-sufficient Benefactor and puts us in the place of needy beneficiaries. Therefore, when the mission of the church moves forward by prayer, the supremacy of God is manifest and the needs of Christian missionaries are met. In prayer, he is glorified and we are satisfied. “Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” John 16:24. The purpose of prayer is the Father’s fame and the saints’ fullness.

The extent of our sacrifice coupled with the depth of our joy displays the worth we put on the reward of God. Loss and suffering, joyfully accepted for the kingdom of God, show the supremacy of God’s glory more clearly in the world than all worship and prayer.

Is Knowing Christ Crucial?

The aim of missions is to ‘bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations (Rom 1:5). God’s will is to be glorified in his Son by making him the center of all missionary proclamation. The supremacy of God in missions is affirmed biblically by affirming the supremacy of his Son as the focus of all saving faith.

People or Peoples?
Rather, God’s will for missions is that every people group be reached with the testimony of Christ and that a people be called out for his name from among all the nations. It may be that this definition of missions will, in fact, result in the greatest possible number of white-hot worshippers for God’s Son. But that remains for God to decide. Our responsibility is to define missions his way and then obey.
The ultimate goal of God in all history is to uphold and display his glory for the enjoyment of the redeemed from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. The beauty of praise that will come to the Lord from the diversity of the nations is greater than the beauty that would come to him if the chorus of the redeemed were culturally uniform or limited. Moreover, there is something about God that is so universally praiseworthy and so profoundly beautiful and so comprehensively worthy and so deeply satisfying that God will find passionate admirers in every diverse people group in the world. His true greatness will be manifest in the breadth of the diversity of those who perceive and cherish his beauty. The more diverse the people groups who forsake their gods to follow the true God, the more visible God’s superiority over all his competitors.
By focusing on all the people groups of the world, God undercuts ethnocentric pride and throws al peoples back upon his free grace rather than on any distinctive of their own. This humility is the flip side of giving God all the glory. Humility means reveling in his grace, not in our goodness. In pressing us on toward all the peoples, God is pressing us further into the humblest and deepest experience of his grace and weaning us more and more from our ingrained pride. In doing this, he is preparing himself a people – from all the peoples – who will be able to worship him with free and white-hot admiration.
Therefore, the church is bound to engage with the Lord of glory in his cause. It is our unspeakable privilege to be caught up with him in the greatest movement in history – the ingathering of the elect from every tribe and language and people and nation until the full number of the Gentiles comes in and all Israel is saved and the Son of Man descends with power and great glory as King of kings and Lord of lords and the earth is full of the knowledge of his glory as the waters cover the sea forever and ever: Then the supremacy of Christ will be manifest to all, and he will deliver the kingdom to God the Father, and God will be all in all.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Not neccessarily about missions per se, but certainly about paradigm change. The changing of a model, framework, etc. Pretty interesting names on there. I think my favorite is Madonna, and I think, strangely enough, her music is growing on me in recent years....
check this out