Friday, January 30, 2004

Recording Dying Languages
This article is pretty interesting about a researcher doing language studies with languages that are dying off. Wow, I've really never thought about this before. And the ramifications for something like Bible translation, that keeps the language from dying, and sometimes consequently, the whole culture from dying...
- "A language doesn't fall over a precipice, it sort of slides into oblivion."
- Once I asked, "Can I use this word this way?" and the response was, "Of course, you're foreign, you can say a wrong thing. But I can't say that." (Foreign missionaries NEVER do stuff like that.)
-... to learn about how people communicate and how the human mind works. What are the categories that are important enough for people to express them in their languages? If these so-called "exotic" languages die, we'll be left with just one world view.
- every Amazonian society ever studied has a legend about a great flood.
- About 60-70 percent of linguistic diversity in the north-western region of Brazil has disappeared in the last 100 years.
Read it here.
Next SPACE Launch
So this SPACE kids come through again. We went and scoped out the next Launch.... I'll talk more about it when it gets closer. Very cool though. Going to do something unconventional to celebrate Valentines Day. Think a party that's totally out of the box. Yeah.
We also talked about these two statements:
1 - The church of God has a mission in the world.
2 - The God of mission has a church in the world.
Which one is right and why?
It made for some good discussion, especially after we framed them and talked about the previous four launches and which ones were relevant to statement #1 or #2.
Just for the record, #2 is really the right one. Debate among yourselves in the comments...
Pure fun
SPACE core meeting tonight.... Talk about just plain fun. These kids crack me up.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

P&P 2
So we had this big work party tonight. It was quite a party, literally. There was a great dinner, an open bar, a live band, and lots of socializing, at one of the best restaurants in DC. Very fun. It was really a great time for a job well done, the execs really pulled out all the strings to throw this gala event. They really did a nice job.
My friend CW came too, even though he left the company a few months ago, he was invited, because he was a contributor to our successes. It was great to catch up with him, and we continued the conversation we had started during his final days as an employee. We talked about a decision point, The Passion movie, and differences in religions. The most significant thing we talked about, certainly, was my story of the P&P strategy, and thinking about him and giving him that book. How Joe pressed him for what book, and then hearing that Joe had gotten the same book as a gift the next day. CW said that he didn't think it was a coincidence at all, I of course agree. He and his fam also went to a church a few weeks ago, and they liked it. It sounded a lot like Grace. Your prayers for CW and his continuing to investigate and research would be great news.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Waking the Dead 3 - Fellowships of the Heart
- It Must Be Small
This small core fellowship is the essential ingredient for the Christian life. Jesus modeled it for us for a reason.
- It Must Be Intimate
Of course, small groups have become a part of the programming that most churches offer their people. For the most part, they are short-lived. There are two reasons. First, you can’t just throw a random group of people together for a twelve-week study of some kind and expect them to become intimate allies.
“All the believers were one in heart.” Acts 4:32 It means they all loved the same thing, they all wanted the same thing, and they were bonded together to find it, come hell or high water. And hell or high water will come, friends, and this will be the test of whether or not your band will make it: if you are one in heart. My goodness- churches split over the size of the parking lot or what instruments to use during worship. Most churches are not ‘one in heart.’
Second, most small groups are anything but redemptive powerhouses because, while the wineskin, might be the right size, they don’t have the right wine. You can do some study till you’re blue in the face, and it won’t heal the brokenhearted or set the captives free. We come; we learn; we leave. It is not enough. Those hearts remain buried, broken, untouched, unknown. It is knowing that you are at war, that God has chosen you and evil is hunting you, and so a fellowship like Frodo’s must protect you.
- It Will Be Messy
“The family is… like a little kingdom, and, like most other little kingdoms, is generally in a state of something resembling anarchy.” – G.K. Chesterton
It is a royal mess. It is disruptive. Going to church with hundreds of other people to sit and hear a sermon doesn’t ask much of you. It certainly will never expose you. That’s why most folks prefer it. Because community will. We have settled for safety in numbers – a comfortable, anonymous distance. An army that keeps meeting for briefings, but never breaks into platoons and goes to war.
Living in community is like camping together. For a month. In the desert. Without tents. All your stuff is scattered out there for everyone to see. Some philosopher described it like a pack of porcupines on a winter night. You come together because of the cold, and you are forced apart because of the spines.
However, there are two things you now have that you didn’t have before, and they enable this sort of fellowship to work. First, you know the heart is good. That is the missing key in most fellowships. Your heart is good and the other’s hearts are good. This makes it so much easier to trust and to forgive. Whatever may be happening in the moment, whatever the misunderstanding might be, I know that our hearts toward one another are good, and that we are for one another.
Second, we know that we are at war. The thought that says, “Oh, brother, here goes Frank again. Why can’t he just drop it about his mother? What is it with these people? The’re not really my friends.” That’s the enemy. You must remember that the Enemy is always trying to pull everyone else to do to you what he is doing to you. As I said earlier, he creates a kind of force field, a gravitational pull around you that draws others into the plot without their even knowing it. “If you cant get it right, we don’t want to be with you.” It’s a lie. It’s the Enemy. I don’t feel that way toward him really. But unless I live with this awareness, keep a watchful eye out for it, and resist, I’ll get sucked into the pull, start making agreements with it, and there goes the friendship.
- Fight For It
“Be kind, for everyone you know is facing a great battle” – Philo of Alexandria
A true community is something you’ll have to fight for. You;ll have to fight to get one, and you;ll have to fight to keep it afloat. But you fight for it as you bail out a life raft during a storm at sea. You want this thing to work. You need this thing to work. You can’t ditch it and jump back on the cruise ship. This is the church, this is all you have. Without it, you’ll go down. Or back to captivity. This is the reason small house fellowships thrive in other countries: they need each other. There are no other options.
Suddenly, all those “one another’s” in Scripture make sense. Acts of kindness become deeply meaning full because we know we are war. Knowing full well that we all are facing battles of our own, we give one another the benefit of the doubt.

Wow.... We just started with a growth group this past Fall. Some great couples in it, and to be honest, we kind of hand picked it with people that we already knew, that we had worked with in ministry before, because of some of the reasons Eldredge refers to above. We started with three couples in the Fall, the other two we knew pretty well, and worked with together in YouthMin for literally years. Like about 5 years. We have shared passions, the same kind of calling, see the same kind of perspective. We just added a fourth couple, and they are a great mix. When I think about these three other couples, the word 'sacrifice' comes to mind. I'm pretty sure I could call them in the middle of the night if I needed to. And I think they would feel the same about us.

So, I don't exactly have a disposable income to buy all the latest music, although I would love to. In any case, since it was one of the top albums of 2003, I bought it. I wanted to buy it used, but D and I bought some other stuff from Amazon and got free shipping. I'm listening to it now, as I do more reading of Eldredge (the girlies are in bed...) Eldredge speaks a lot of seeing our lives as epic, and this album really fits the part. The music is so wide and expansive, listening to it convinces me that I'm integral to the battle, that the hour is desperate, that there is a war going on. It's interesting isn't it.
The other thing that comes to mind about it is that its kind of a dark record when you first listen to it. But the words are so heavy. Our culture is looking for spiritual answers... Enough that the album sold 3.4M copies...

i tried to kill the pain
but only brought more
i lay dying
and i'm pouring crimson regret and betrayal
i'm dying praying bleeding and screaming
am i too lost to be saved
am i too lost?

my God my tourniquet
return to me salvation
my God my tourniquet
return to me salvation

do you remember me
lost for so long
will you be on the other side
or will you forget me
i'm dying praying bleeding and screaming
am i too lost to be saved
am i too lost?

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Missions Bio
Found this bio of a missionary who works with Wycliffe.
- After twenty years of linguistic research, translation and literacy, and medical work, she completed the New Testament in 1982
- resulting in the establishment of indigenous churches in every Balangao village
Now that is some impact huh?
Year of the Monkey
Unfortunately, I'm not usually very big on Chinese New Year. And I'm Chinese!! It's pretty sad all in all. And if you know me, you know that the only Chinese culture I have in me is eating chinese food. I've tried to be better about it. I chose a people group in China for my Perspectives final paper, and been trying to expose my kids to more Chinese culture. But it's still bad. I've also often thought what kind of impact I could make as a Chinese person living here in the states, maybe Chinese youth ministry, or something like that. It really is a big culture difference, moreso than I ever used to think.
So this year, I took the girls to a Chinese New Year celebration they had at our county library. It was pretty cool, lots of little crafts, and a few little demonstrations and shows. They seemed to enjoy it. You can see pictures of them here.
Also, this is a cool link to see a Quicktime VR of the NYC Chinatown celebration.

Parents Panel
Our pastor to the Family, TS, asked D and I to participate in one of three parents panels that he is running, for preschoolers, elementary age kids and middle/high schoolers. Pretty cool, it's very flattering. When we both read the email, we were like, "Who, us?" Anyway, it's a pretty neat opportunity and not that we are experts.
Here is a snippet of what he wrote to us. "...seen in you a commitment to being a God honoring parent and one who knows the difference some encouragement and a few new ideas can make."
It sounds fun and like it could really be a great thing in very tangible terms. We are totally going to help out.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Day Job
More changes at my day job due to the mass excursion of people in November. The gist is that I now have a new boss. I think circumstances warrant some new individuals fitting in with the P&P strategy. Very intersting. In case you haven't heard about the first great P&P story (because I just know there are bound to be more), get in touch and I'll tell it to you.
Remote villages and email
Rural Cambodia and Wi-Fi
(free registration required)
This is pretty cool, how about incorporating this into a missions strategy?

Working from home in the snow
While watching this with the kids...

Who is Brit's hero?
Article here. Hmm. Very interesting...

Sunday, January 25, 2004

21st century slavery #3
Article #3
(Free registration is required)
Camp Sheng
Last night, me and the girlies slept in the tent. It's a very fun thing to do, most of the time, and we don't do it that much. And yes, K has been camping outside, once in the backyard...
I remember the first time I did it with her when she was probably 18 months or so. It was probably the most impactful time I have ever had with one of my kids. That was the turning point of her toddler years, the point where I was no longer her father, but her dad. I still think about that sometimes, what a profound influence time makes in relationships.
You can see some pictures of Camp Sheng here.
Gospel Night
So CpR had this thing tonight called Gospel Night. It was basically training for high schoolers on how to share the Gospel. We focused on the key points, helpful verses and sharing illustrations. It was really good. Sounds like lots of kids are pumped about being able to have tangible tools to share as well as seeing all the other kids who wanted to share but never knew how, since they all came to the thing tonight. SM (the high school pastor) talked at the end about a bunch of stuff, I can't quite remember all of it.
The biggest thing to me tonight was how those kids feed off of SM, he has such a touch with them, a way to communicate to them, its uncanny. I mean, I've heard him speak plenty of times, but tonight, he was right there in sync with 99% of them.
The funnest part for me tonight was teaching a few kids and leaders how to do 2 card tricks that can really be used to open the door for talking about spiritual things. MW was probably the biggest fan, and she was actually in my group during the training. And I had no idea that she had become a Christian through MW (another MW). (So I like using initials...) That was a pretty cool story!
So to see 50 high schoolers come out to Gospel Night on a Saturday night. I'm telling you, there is a generation coming up that is going to have some serious impact for the Kingdom.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Launch B follow up
Last weekend, SPACE had a launch that centered around babies. Making meals for people in the church that just had new babies and working at a pregnancy center. During the intro, which had an awesome testimony from a girl at Grace that had gone through the issue, I talked about how much information there was about the prolife movement. So much info, so much you could do, so much energy with the issue. But here is an article that I think is pretty unique. It deals with all of us because it talks about the pro-life movement from the perspective of the entertainment industry. Wow, its got some perspective that I have a hard time even trying to think through, its that good. And its written by the author of one of the blogs that I follow, who I think is doing some pretty redemptive things in Hollywood.

Friday, January 23, 2004

"God rules the Earth through the laws of physics"
This article states that it was physically possible that the Red Sea was parted. Sweet.
"I introduced 2 of my favorite people"
Chris Marshall writes about one of his children wanting to hear more about God's story. This is not only neat. As a father, its almost overwhelming.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Waking the Dead 2
** It is the image of God reflected in you that so enrages hell; it is this at which the demons hurl their mightiest weapons. -William Gurnall
** "Satan is called in Scripture the Father of Lies (John 8:44). His very first attack against the human race was to lie to Eve and Adam about God, and where life is to be found, and what the consequences of certain actions would and would not be. He is a master at this. He suggests to us – as he suggested to Adam and Eve- some sort of idea or inclination or impression, and what he is seeking is a sort of ‘agreement’ on our part. He’s hoping we will buy into whatever he is saying, offering, insinuating. Our first parents bought into it, and look what disaster came of it. But that story is not over. The Evil One is still lying to us, seeking our agreement every single day."
** "The whole plan is based on agreements. When we make those agreements with the demonic forces suggesting things to us, we come under their influence. It becomes a kind of permissions we give the Enemy, sort of like a contract. The bronze gates start clanging shut around us. I’m serious – maybe half the stuff people are trying to ‘work through’ in counseling offices, or pray about in their quiet times, is simply agreements they’ve made with the Enemy. Some foul spirit whispers, “I’m such a stupid idiot” and they agree with it; then they spend months and years trying to sort through feelings of insignificance. They’d end their agony if they’d treat it for the warfare it is, break the agreement they’ve made, send the Enemy packing."
** "During an assault like this, you must remember: make no agreements. The Enemy will suggest all sorts of things. “God doesn’t care. You’re not worth fighting for. Your heart doesn’t matter. You can’t trust him.” He is trying to kill your heart, destroy the glory of your life. It will feel hard – really hard, almost impossible – but whatever you do, make no agreements. You have to start there."
** "Finally, the Religious Spirit makes it next to impossible for a person to break free by spreadling the lie that “there is no war.” Be honest. How many Christians do you know who practice spiritual warfare as a normal, necessary, daily part of the Christian life? We don’t sing the hymn Onward Christian Soldiers because it isn’t true. We have acquiesced. We have surrendered without a fight.
We’ve exchanged that great hymn for a subtle but telling substitute, a song that is currently being taught to thousands of children in Sunday school each week (I’m in the Lord’s Army)
There is no battle and there is no war and there is no Enemy and your life is not at stake and you are not desperately needed this very hour, but you’re in the Lord’s army. Yes sir. Doing what?, may I ask."

Wow, that is some heavy stuff. It's very similar to the whole "excluded middle" that Perspectives teaches on, the idea that there is no spiritual element to life and we don't need to worry about it. In contrast to nonWestern cultures that totally believe and act on the fact that there is indeed a middle layer - where the physical and spiritual meet, and sometimes are in conflict with one another. We totally have acquiesced.
Reminds me of the time, and I always tell this story, when I took a group of guys to do conversational evangelism in OC, MD for a few days in the summer. T and E were talking to this older gentleman about Jesus and life and all that, and he seemed pretty into it. His wife came out of a store and immediately got confrontational. Bad vibe starts there. They go on for a bit, she is still very antagonistic. She then looks at T and asks, "Your birthday is in May isn't it?" And of course, it was. Never saw her before in his life. That night, and ever since then, I have taken the middle layer to be a lot less excluded. I think all of us in ministry, all of us that call ourselves Christ-followers really ought to.
21st century slavery
This report from the New York Times writes about his experience buying two girls out of slavery here. I can't even imagine. The second installment of his series talks about the reluctance of one of the girls to actually leave and take her freedom. It's an interesting set of observations that talk about freedom from bondage, but also acceptance when one is free.
It's a whole realm of society that we don't have to deal with here in the US, and a serious opportunity to reach people that are literally captive. Christ came to set all of us free, in order that we would be giving Him more glory.
I wonder what kind of spiritual background this guy has.
(Oh, reading the articles will require registration, which is free)
Some serious questions about The Passion
Well, the movie certainly has gotten lots of exposure over the past few months and even more in the past few weeks. I just linked to my friend Brian and an article he wrote about it. But this post here asks some serious questions of us Christian leaders about what we promote and why or why not....
** "However, I am curious how some evangelicals will navigate the moral trap they will set for themselves by endorsing this film. What trap is this? It is the moral dilemma of supporting a film filled with excessive violence, torture, and blasphemy - a film so bloody it has earned an R-rating simply for its gory content."
** "Christian leader, if you endorse The Passion as an evangelistic tool in spite of its R-rating, how will you keep your parishioners from attending other R-rated films?"
** "If they are willing to admit it, many evangelicals, if they are to remain consistent in their stated convictions concerning movies, will have to reject The Passion. Those who believe that the morality of a story ultimately has to do with its details (Does it contain sex, violence, or profanity?) rather than with its overall message will be forced to sanction this film with an unclean conscious."
Whoa. Yeah, he hits deep. And he is right on.
** "If you have preached against attendance at R-rated movies, or if you have declared that a movie is immoral if it contains violence, sex, or profanity, then you are inconsistent and lacking integrity if you endorse this film. If you constantly complain about the level of violence, disturbing images, or blasphemous actions in other films, then you should do the same for The Passion."
Read it for yourself and see what you think.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Summer 2004 and "Kazakhstan or Ocean City, MD?"
Just turned in my proposal for middle and high school missions to the Youth Min team for their approval and feedback. I'm pretty excited, I think we've got some solid goals outlined and to see them met would be huge for the Youth Ministry missions side. I also think the MTF is going to love it and to have the church see our students taking a lead in missions would just be awesome.
On a related note, K and E and a bunch of other guys are looking like they might go to Kazakhstan for a few weeks with a local, networked contact from MD. Very very cool. When I dream of SPACE and the progression I think it should have, something like this is the final, ultimate goal. A team going to another culture, assisting long term missionaries in helping them with the essential task. Wow. And to think, in the year 2000, when I was thinking about summer missions for my dteam, and wanting them to progress through certain experiences, with the end goal of ministry on the beach in Ocean City, MD - that was a pretty cool idea. It never panned out because those guys didn't get a sense of this kind of thing until probably very late in their senior year. But as I was thinking about it earlier this week, K and E have fulfilled this dream of mine, they will just end up in Kazakhstan instead of Ocean City. Hey, it's close...
I know I've posted this many, many times here, but this job I have is the coolest one on Earth. And what's even wackier, is that its not really a job. Well, it sort of is.... (Do you see what I mean?)
I was up surfing around one night a few weeks ago and googled an old friend of mine, and lo and behold, I found him. Brian Goins and I worked together during the summer of 1991 at Camp Shenandoah Springs as counselors. It was a pretty awesome 7 weeks, and pretty formative for me as I look back on it now, due to a few reasons:
- Brian was a big influence on me in terms of youth ministry. Even though I had been doing lots of volunteering as a youthworker in a local church, it never occurred to me that it was more than just something fun to do, a community service, etc. Brian was compelled to, called to, defined by - ministry to young people. I specifically remember him getting broken at talking about how little time was left in the summer, that our time to transform them was so short. After that summer, I began to really think about a calling to youth ministry. I don't think I ever thought of it that way before meeting and working with Brian, and certainly have continued to think and act upon the call since then. (Even though I have tried to get out of it... it seems like I can never leave it)
- I had worked in one specific summer camp experience, and Shenandoah Springs really threw me out of context, in the best way possible. That summer, I got to work in a co-ed Christian camp, which I had never done before. I had also got to work with some really quality counselors, people that had God set apart first, and were devoted to students in ways that were incredibly sacrificial. They gave it all, 24x7, to these kids.
- I had just graduated college and was on my way to grad school in the fall. It was a great way to spend the summer without having financial worries, etc. Just loads of fun.
I always knew he would do something significant for the Kingdom. Here is a recent article by Brian about The Passion.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Thoughts about an emerging church get together from Chris Marshall. Don't know too much about him, but I like what he writes. Specifically, he writes "The future leader will not be an expositor but a diakanos (table servant)." Read more here.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Launch B
SPACE Launch B was today. Great great fun. Good turnout. It was all about babies. Made meals for people at GCC that just had babies and then worked at Laurel Preg Center helping them get some stuff done. Very cool.
I had some personal trouble putting together the talk for the beginning of it. The whole abortion issue gets heated so fast, Christians can get so angry and judgemental about the whole thing. Plus, I was way late in terms of thinking about it and getting the other logistics done for it. Last night, we bought most of the raw ingredients, cooked and cut 15 pounds of chicken, and baked two batches of brownies. It wasn't too bad, but it just made for a tough Friday night, the night before a Launch. And the directions, the recipes, the stuff to give to the people we made food for. The talk was the last thing on my mind. In many ways, relating to some of the posts below, not much time or attention to listening for God speaking.
Despite that, it worked. Kids came, served, got first hand experience about the issue.
The hands down best part of it all - Kelly'sf friend came and spoke about her experience getting an abortion as a teenager, getting pregnant in her 20s and deciding she could never do that again, making it as a single parent, and then finding Christ and being able to be forgiven after 10 years, not only forgiving herself, but experiencing God's forgiveness in a real and tangible way. Her story was intense.
Check out some pictures here.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

K and E
Had a great time with K and E tonight. Great to reconnect with these two Dteam guys, as well as eat Chinese food, replace my car battery in -10 degrees, and eat some more food.
Talked at length about lots of good stuff, including summer missions for them (they are putting their own team of 8 guys together), the theory of "Leave One Man Behind", and being intentional and teaching young high school students to be intentional. Lots of good conversation, I even had a cup of coffee... That's how good it was. (I only drink coffee for special occasions... NOT. The waitress offered it to me for free instead of paying for OJ.)
Good guys. Even after being 'done' with Dteam03 for almost a year, I am still reaping the fruit of it. These guys continue to sharpen me, they long to reach people with the Gospel, they want to continue the traditions that we built in Dteam extending them to the new crop of students, and they love to hang out, converse and have fun. It is a true joy.
Also came up with a list of questions for their meeting with a missionary contact for this coming summer. Very cool.
God Speaking
More from Waking the Dead

- But I don’t think he speaks to me any more than others; I think I’ve just learned to expect it, need it, keep an eye out for it. It’s a whole different perspective on how we approach our day. Either we wake to tackle our ‘to do’ list, get things done, guided by our morals and whatever clarity we may at the moment have (both rather lacking to the need, I might add). Or we wake in the midst of a dangerous Story, as God’s intimate ally, following him into the unknown.
If you are not pursuing a dangerous quest with your life, well then you don’t need a Guide. If you haven’t found yourself in the midst of a ferocious war, then you won’t need a seasoned Captain. But if you intend to live in the Story that God is telling, and if you want the life he offers, then you are going to need more than a handful of principles, however noble they may be.
- A personal walk with God comes to us through wisdom and revelation. You will soon discover that we need both.
- Wisdom is crucial. But it is not enough. Many well-meaning evangelicals rely on it exclusively. That is why their lives remain where they are – rather short of all Christ promised.
- We begin by assuming that God is still speaking.
John 16:12-13
John 8:47
John 10:2-4,11
Many good people never hear God speak to them personally for the simple fact that they’ve never been told that he does. But he does – generously, intimately.
Now it doesn’t happen in an instant. Walking with God is a way of life. It’s something to be learned; our ability to hear God’s voice and discern his word to us grows over time. We have an eye out for his particular word to us, and we learn as we go along.
Notice that we must ask. And we will sometimes struggle to hear and struggle with what we hear. But personally, it’s worth it. I’m after the path of life – and he alone knows it.

I've tried this of late, sort of. I started recently just asking God about some stuff and trying to hone in on specific thoughts that would come in after this. A few of them came in:
- Saturday night I had this name just pop into my head, the last name of some friends from GCC. They have daughters the same age as ours and go to our school too. Anyway, turns out, he was in the hospital all weekend.
- Felt the moving of a name and a specific topic of conversation I could bring up with someone at work - AR. Brought it up today, he was overwhelemingly receptive to it, in fact, felt like he could use some advice about the topic and wanted to follow up at a later date.
Hmmm. Wow...

Things like the above, and the story with CW, make me feel like I am making more of an impact than ever, in all facets of life. It's cool. Not only making an impact, but that God is really impacting my life of late, in terms of growth, development, ministry, etc. It's really very cool. Wow.

What did the Agnostic say upon arriving in Hell?
"I can't believe this is happening to me!"

hardy har har

A joke from the comments from this blog, written by Director of Act One: Writing for Hollywood. The specific post is titled "WE MIGHT STOP SENDING MISSIONARIES TO THE THIRD WORLD NOW" Of course, I don't agree with the premise - of not sending missionaries to the Third World, because our own celebreties here in Hollywood are so distant from God. But the point is interesting in terms of ministry and reaching our own culture with the Gospel.
We must keep in mind, our culture is within reach of the existing Church. The crux is that the Church here is not doing a good job transforming what is already in reach. The "Third World" she refers to, that is unreached. 0 chance to hear the Gospel at all.
I like her writing, and its neat to hear an 'inside' track to Hollywood. Missions minded or not, we are all affected, and addicted I think, to Hollywood and entertainment at some level, just from living here in the US.
DC Area Startup Churches

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

This article reminds me a lot of Waking the Dead. Very similar, almost like the author could have written part 2 of the book. Except she uses LOTR as a basis point. Good read though.
So I'm signed up to go to this cool conference. GCC is paying my way to go, along with 3 other staff from the YM. Very cool. It's pretty unbelievable, quite the opportunity.
A Very Bad Definition of Missions
This article gave me lots of things to disagree with. I strongly dislike the definition of 'missions' the author is propogating here.
"Reaching out to people, or “missions,” is best defined as loving people."
Uh, no, sorry. Missions is not just reaching out to people. Yuck. If we keep on telling people thats what missions is, the nations will NEVER be reached. NEVER. What would compel someone to go with a definition like that. I mean, why even bother??
But alas, I think there is hope with one of the comments from the story. Tyler Watts, nice!

Saturday, January 10, 2004

E turns 3
Hard to believe, but our little one, E turned 3 today. D is away on a callig cult weekend, so I'm holding down the fort. Poor Em, she has been sick all week and she even had to go to the doctor today to make sure she didn't have an infection. It turned out well, clear ears and chest. Even so, it's sad to be sick on your birthday. You can read and see it here.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Dreaming about space
SPACE core meeting tonight - very fun. We met at the Mall. I know, talk about crazy. Take ADHD high schoolers to the mall to have a meeting.... But actually, it was very cool.
Saw tons of their friends, and they all were like, what are you doing, and who are you with? haha. Pay no attention to me, even though I look like I'm 16.
I had them dream with me what a service project looks like, but not a normal one, instead a wacky one, that no one else would do. Not for any reason. And they did it, they came up with two. The next two. Awesome, because in a sense, that is indigenous leadership. I'm just here to be the catalyst, the vision, you bring something to the table.
I also had them do this weird thing - pray for three stores in the mall. So there was 5 of them, I thought maybe they would just go off by themselves and find 3 stores and pray, kind of nonchalantly. But they all went together, and at each store, they got in a circle and held their hands. Wow. Totally not what I would have expected. Of course, the key to it, the reason why, was to get them to think about life strategically. While most if not all of the people in the mall are buying stuff or whatever, you are thinking about how you could pray, which stores to pray for, and how to bring the Kingdom here. What is the most strategic and why. Very interesting. It was very cool. Oh, and the 3 stores - A&F (of course), Motherhood Maternity (a surprise to me too, but what a great great GREAT idea), and Hot Topic. (One of my mentors prays for Hot Topic every time he walks by it)
Did I tell you, this is the COOLEST job in the world....
Bad Books
I might be really dense...
But here is a list of bad books, designated by this Discerning Reader thing. I was really intruiged, because they have some serious knowledge with the collection of books. But why would they put Purpose Driven Life and Waking the Dead on there. I mean, sure, they aren't huge tomes of thought, they have gotten eaten up by the masses, but is there something fundamentally wrong with them? Is there bad theology in them? Are they unbiblical? Am I so unlearned that I am missing the whole construct? If you know, please tell me, if you think I can grasp it. And even something by Erwin McManus (whom I've never read, but am pretty sure I'm going to Origins in May.)

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Got together with the 03 boys tonight. Very cool. We basically went around and told stories from this past semster/year. It was really fun, just to hear how they are doing and how God is moving in their lives. Interestingly enough, all of them that were there went to Urbana. It really was a great time. The funniest part was the Vegemite eating contest, thanks for Ryan. Andrew was the funniest, poor guy. Very encouraging, God's word is bearing fruit.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Wake Me Up
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us… And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Nelson Mandela

Member class, doctrine class, small group, Christian growth, evangelism class, courses on finance and marriage and parenting, leadership training class, hermeneutics, spiritual gifts, biblical counseling, participate in missions, carry a significant local church ministry load. (my paraphrase)
You could earn an MBA with less effort. But let me ask you: A program like this – does it teach a person how to apply principles or how to walk with God? They are not the same thing. Change the content and any cult could do this. Gandhi, Confucius, Jefferson, they all had principles for a better life. But only Christianity can teach you to walk with God.
We forfeit that birthright when we take folks through a discipleship program whereby they master any number of Christian precepts and miss the most important thing of all, the very thing for which we were created: intimacy with god.
Truth be told, you couldn’t master enough principles to see you safely through this Story. There are too many surprises.
Only by walking with God can we hope to find the path that leads to life. That is what it means to be a disciple. After all, aren’t we followers of Christ? Then by all means, let’s actually follow him. Not ideas about him, not just his principles. Him.

A personal walk with God comes to us through wisdom and revelation. You will soon discover that we need both.
When the apostles needed the help of some good men to shepherd the exploding new church, they chose men “full of the Spirit and wisdom” Acts 6:3. The two go together; we need both.
God has given us all sort of counsel and direction in his written Word; thank God we have it written down in black and white. We would do well to be familiar with it, study it with all the intensity of the men who studied the maps of the Normandy coastline before they hit the beaches on D-Day. The more that wisdom enters our hearts, the more we will be able to trust our hearts in difficult situations. Notice that wisdom is not cramming our heads with principles. It is developing a discerning heart. What made Solomon such a sharp guy was his wise and discerning heart. I Kings 3:9

The particular foolishness of the church in the past century was Reason above all else. The result has been a faith stripped of the supernatural, the Christianity of tips and techniques. We have our morals and we have our precepts, but where is the living God?

Just a few of my notes from Waking the Dead

Monday, January 05, 2004

Missionaries for Dinner
Had dinner with the Penleys tonight. Very cool. Talked about the future and Australia, but mainly just hung out and ate really good food. We told them how much Grace loves them, its so true. Pastor M talked about them in church yesterday, a great story. So cool. They are my inside track to sending students to Australia....
I'm back. After driving from Baltimore to Savannah, then to Orlando, and back.... Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. One of the things I'm pondering is turning some of this stuff into an email newsletter. If this sounds interesting to you, let me know via the comments.

Good article about how the face of people going to food shelters is changing - now its mostly single mothers with children instead of homeless people.

World Relief write up about the earthquake in Iran. 50K people dead so far... Note that Iran is one of Clive Calver's favorite churches in the world. Interesting, what REALLY is going on here? (One of the questions I keep thinking of after reading parts of _Waking the Dead_ by Eldrege)

On the Urbana front, wow! Lots of good feedback, 23 people went from GCC, most if not all loved it. I did some of the intervewing of some of them to the Body at large on Sunday morning and hosted a party for them on Sunday night. The GCC MTF donated about $2500 in scholarship funds, very cool, the real deal. The party was so great, loads and loads of fun and it was really good for them, they just needed to talk about it and share. The more I think about it, it was a debrief that needed to be done. So very good. And D and I just loved hearing them talk about it. Very fun, and some very funny stories. We made up some campy questions too that they had to answer, like "Describe the most interesting person you met that was not from Grace.", stuff like that. Wow, it was a long day.
I think these students are on the cutting edge of what missions for Grace, the whole model of missions at Grace is going to change....