Friday, March 16, 2018

Friday Burn

::: Here Come the MegaCities
By 2100, at least 10 cities are predicted to have populations over 50 million.

::: Affordable 3D Printed Houses
Debuted at SXSW, also check out some of the other cool social missions start ups are tackling.

::: Steeple to Street
The Church is rediscovering its identity in mission. More and more churches are taking seriously the call to engage with their communities...and many more would like to. But this new mission landscape is going to need new skills of leadership. Bold, risk-taking, creative, discerning leadership. Leaders who will move to the mission edges and foster fresh expressions of church. Leaders who will take on the adaptive challenges within existing churches to catalyze new energy for mission. Leaders who will make room for experiments and risks for the sake of the gospel.
I'll be at Steeple to Street on Saturday, would love to say hi if you are there.

::: Fortune sides with him who dares. - Virgil

Photo: Mt. Etna, and the 9 passenger van.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Ember March Dinner

Notes from dinner with special guests K and D.

Took Perspectives in the 1980s. Couldn't travel so started helping coordinate the class. Got involved in a bunch of mobilization stuff at home. Then could travel. Began making friends in the Middle East. Have traveled to a specific region there now 19 times over the past number of years.

Most exciting thing going on with missions these days:
Insider movements
Discipleship Making Movements
Fast growing church right now is in Iran.
Disciple people before they are believers.
Discovery Bible Studies - organic simple way to study the Scriptures.

Advice for young people:
Faithful - faithful in the small leads to being faithful in the big.
Available - you have the most free time right now when you are young. Availability is also related to financial availability - do not incur a lot of debt for college - this directly reduces your availability.

Involved in Partners for Transformation - a group of pastors that have prayed for Baltimore every week for over 10 years. Two incredible nonprofits sprung out of relationships in that group.
Don't make people your projects. They know when they are. Just build bridges of love and love them as friends.
Middle Eastern culture loves to talk about religion. Take advantage of that - don't be scared of it.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Vision, Budget and Cattle

That phrase will echo on my auditory cortex forever: vision beyond your resources.
That phrase has become a mantra at National Community Church and is inspiring us to continue dreaming irrational dreams. We certainly practice sound financial management, count the cost of every vision, and steward every penny in a way that honors God, but we refuse to let our budget determine our vision. That would be poor stewardship because it's based on our limited resources rather than on God's unlimited supply. Too often we butcher our God-given dreams because we forget the simple fact that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Don't let fear dictate your decisions. Letting your budget determine your vision is backward. Faith is letting your vision determine your budget. And if your vision is God-given, it will most definitely be beyond your ability and beyond your resources. Why? Because then God will get all of the glory! And I promise you this: the God who gives the vision is the same God who makes provision.
- Mark Batterson, Draw the Circle
NCC and PM impressed this upon me in 2013. It is absolutely true and when The Ember Cast dreams of projects, the viability of them are never based solely on the finances.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Friday Burn

::: Dolly Parton Donates 100 Millionth Book to Children in Need

::: A New Generation Redefines What It Means to Be a Missionary
Link via Justin Long

::: Muslim Connect
My friend Shane writes a Muslim Connect, a 300 word, weekly email that I enjoy about how we can trade apathy, anxiousness or anger toward Muslims for biblical love and engagement. It’s super short, very practical and sometimes funny. Sign up here.

::: The invention of the ship was also the invention of the shipwreck. - Paul Virilio

Photo: Highlandtown, Baltimore. March 2018.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

2017 In Numbers

1 ProtoGuide for 3 months
1 short term missions team training event : 6 hours of missions team building for 60 people
2 local church based missions conferences : teaching 6 sessions for 120 people
2 student team community impact projects : 12 hours of community impact service learning for 30 students
2 summer teams including 2 team members sent to Poland for 6 weeks and 6 team members to Italy and Poland for 2 weeks
2 Ember monthly dinners involving 13 people
3 missions leadership events : 36 hours of coaching and practical training for around 70 people
4 Perspectives classes teaching - 12 hours of teaching for a total of 75 people

This is pretty informative picture on everything The Ember Cast was involved in last year and I'm super proud of just about all of that work. Thanks to many of you for your portfolio of support, including prayer, financial and moral support.

It is however, very important that we balance that picture with one of our favorite mantras:
"Disciples are made on the road, not in rows." - Kim Hammond

Monday, March 05, 2018

IG Team Meeting #2

+ Icebreakers during the drive from the 25 Best icebreakers ever
+ Serving with a refugee weekend program which included games with kids, futball with high school kids [Sam made numerous goals and was the only girl], English lessons and lunch.
+ Our team knows that in some contexts like this, we will have to be very friendly and make our own fun. These are integral skills for people that are interested in starting things from nothing in different cultural contexts. This day was good practice.

* Missing a few pieces of our team

Friday, March 02, 2018

Friday Burn

::: The Pineapple Fund Has Given $86M to Charities so far

::: These are the World's Most Miserable Economies
Link via Justin Long

::: The Student Activists of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High
Now it’s time for them to change the conversation around education in America, and not just as it relates to guns in the classroom. The effectiveness of these poised, articulate, well-informed, and seemingly preternaturally mature student leaders of Stoneman Douglas has been vaguely attributed to very specific personalities and talents. Indeed, their words and actions have been so staggeringly powerful, they ended up fueling laughable claims about crisis actors, coaching, and fat checks from George Soros. But there is a more fundamental lesson to be learned in the events of this tragedy: These kids aren’t freaks of nature. Their eloquence and poise also represent the absolute vindication of the extracurricular education they receive at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

::: Romantic love will get you to the mission field but sacrificial love will keep you there. - Deb Hirsch

Photo: Decompression, Union Station DC. Feb 2018.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Training Plans

California, Italy, Maryland, Virginia. It has never been easier to connect.

This is a planning session for the Ember IG team discussing some elements of training. Our local on the ground team requires teams go through some specific training so we are bringing in some other guests for specific cross cultural topics. If you are involved in student summer missions, you should be doing the same kind of planning right now. In fact, you are a little late.

But there is hope. The statistics bear it to be true, teams that prepare, even with the smallest amount, do far better than teams that don't. Reach out if you need some simple suggestions.