Friday, December 23, 2011

Canadian of Kish: Telling Biblical Fiction

I told more of the story of Saul to my kids last night. We're all still a bit off-clock here in Tulsa, and when Anna asked for a story at 10:15 my first response was "no" but then I reflected that it was still 8:15 for their bodies and nobody was really wanting to sleep. So the "no" died on my lips and I invited the three kids into the storytelling bedroom to continue the life of King Saul.

You may know that the secret to historical fiction is to take a no-name character who can view and take part in historical events, while engaging in personal conflicts that don't make it into the history texts. We do that with Bible stories at our house. Last summer we told the story of a little Hebrew girl who was born the very week of the first Passover and the exodus from Egypt. Her dad sat in on the council of elders who heard from the 12 spies sent in to Canaan and brought the report of how the meeting had gone (and his editorial opinions) back to the family that night. Her aunts and uncles had been some of the ones pressing Aaron to make a golden calf, and in fact one of her uncles had been . . . well, you get the idea.

Each kid gets to name the no-name character, and our kids are uninhibited with regards to naming conventions.   It turns out (although it's not mentioned in any of the histories or commentaries I've read) that Saul's servant was almost exactly the same age as he was, and was named "Canadian." Yep--you heard it here first. Canadian's parents had been servants in Kish's household, and Canadian grew up playing with Saul in childhood and continued on the employ of the house of Saul when they became adults. It was Canadian who had some pocket-silver they could use to buy a prophesy from Samuel (regarding the missing donkeys), and it was Canadian who actually delivered a donkey-shipment to Ekron in his younger days in order to see what the Philistines were doing with the Ark of the LORD.

 So last night we began at the part of the story where Saul cut up two oxen and shipped the pieces all over the country to gather help for Keriath Jearim. I bet you thought it was just Saul doing the cutting and packaging, right? And copying the threat-letter all those times? As of last night, my kids know that it was Saul's idea--and that he helped some, to be sure--but the grunt-work of actually getting the messy task done fell to Canadian and his sons. Yicky!

And then when the evil spirit sent from God was tormenting Saul, Canadian was the first to suggest that they find a musician to soothe him. He knew a guy in town who could play the bugle, so he suggested that at first. Saul picked up a spear and threw it at Canadian, who was becoming very good at dodging spears. Canadian's 19-year old son was also serving dinner that evening, and he suggested maybe finding a good drummer (he was part of a garage band and had recently taken up drums). Another spear. Canadian's 10-year old daughter, though, suggested timidly that maybe they could find a harpist? This met with approval! They were all charged with finding a harpist . . . who could dodge spears.

Try telling Bible stories this way. You'll find that you need more details than you normally remember. This morning I woke up knowing that I'd better go re-read the next chapters of 1st Samuel, because the kids will almost certainly beg for another story tonight. <grin> I need to be ready!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ask a kid . . .

We asked our kids last night an important question: "What do you have to do to be Righteous in God's eyes?"

I'm curious what your kids would say.  Ask them and put their response in the comment field below?

Ours gave us responses that caused us to look at each other, not shocked but troubled. "Did you teach them that?"  "No.  Did you?" "No."  WHO?!

The older two kids both said "To be righteous in God's eyes, you have to obey God's laws."  The youngest kid asked what righteous was.

Who has been teaching our children that righteousness is built on obedient works?  That's the very thing we spend our adult energy trying to unlearn!  Our righteousness is based on faith--Relying on Jesus.  We don't get more righteous if we have Jesus + no stealing.  Neither Jesus + tithing nor Jesus + fasting is more righteous than just Jesus.

Ready for the hard inverse truth?  Faith-in-Jesus + adultery is not less righteous than just Jesus.

Can it sink in?  Can our kids learn that their own righteousness doesn't add to the glorious righteousness that faith in Jesus applies to us?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Investing with the SGF Savings and Loan

George: "We don't need Potter over here!"

Townspeople: "I'll take mine now!"

George: "No, but you're thinking of this place all wrong. As if I had the money back in a safe. The, the money's not here. Well, your money's in Joe's house... that's right next to yours. And in the Kennedy House, and Mrs. Macklin's house, and, and a hundred others."

Recognize those lines?  That's George Bailey calming down the hysterical townsfolk who fear that the banks have lost their money.  George is explaining that their money in the Savings and Loan is invested in the homes of their community--that it's not liquid assets ready to be withdrawn at a moment's notice.

I got to thinking tonight about the church as a Savings and Loan, and particularly in light of what it means to be a "member" of the church.  Why is this "church membership" such a solemn event to us--why not just have it be something where a person can come and participate (or not) as they choose?  Why make "joining" such a big deal?

And the answer is . . . membership is not about the one(s) doing the joining.

Picture a set of 9 sticks all set upright (teepee fashion) leaning in on each other.  Each member needs the others because they're all leaning in to the center.  And as long as they keep leaning in, their structure is so much more stable than a bunch of sticks standing upright near each other.  The term interdependence comes to mind, (and also its unhealthy cousin, independence, but that's material for another blog post).

I know that the others in my home church won't pick up and leave the church just because of a difference of theology or preference of when to take communion.  I trust that when they become hurt/offended (and everyone does, given enough time and opportunity), they are "leaning in" enough to solve the problem some other way than by withdrawing their hearts.

It's that "ability to withdraw your heart" that we hope you'll give up to gain something greater.  At a bank, you are anonymous and independent.  You can come in any time and withdraw everything and close the account.  At the Church Savings and Loan, your heart is not so easily liquidated, because it's invested in the other lives of your home church.

Back to membership, then.  We need you to "join" us for a period of months without commitment so you can see--really see--who we are and how we live.  Please-oh-please don't make a hasty commitment to us, because we want you to be sure you know what/who you're getting into.  On the other hand, don't be a visitor forever, because the longer you stay in "visitor mode" the harder it will be for us to mutually invest in each other.  I don't know of any way to prove this to you--it's just an observation I've made from years of watching people come, stay for months and years, and go again without ever having invested their hearts.  

More thoughts on the process of becoming a member at the <SGF Website>.

The transcript from the movie (below) can be translated to any crisis where an invested community steps in to lovingly support.  In the last three weeks, our home church has had two small crises where we stepped in like this.  It's the reason we run a "Savings-and-Loan-style" Church:

Clarence: Go on home. They're waiting for you.

- George: Mary!  Mary!

- Well, hello, Mr. Bank Examiner.
- How are you?

Mr. Bailey, there's a deficit.

- I know. Eight thousand dollars.

George, I've got a little paper here.

- I'll bet it's a warrant for my arrest.
- Isn't it wonderful?

- I'm going to jail.

Merry Christmas!
- Reporters?

- Wh-Where's Mary?

- Mary!
- Oh, look at this wonderful old drafty house.

- Mary! Mary!
- Mary!

- Have you...
- Have you seen my wife?

Merry Christmas, Daddy!
Merry Christmas, Daddy!

- Kids!
- Pete!
- Oh!

- Kids!
- Janie! Janie! Tommy!

- Oh, let me look at you.

- Oh, I could eat you up.

- Where is your mother?
She went looking for you with Uncle Billy.

- Zuzu! Zuzu!

- My little gingersnap!
- How do you feel?

Fine! Not a smitch of temperature.
- Not a smitch of tempe...

- Hallelujah!

George! George!
- Mary! Mary!

George, darling!
Where have you been?

Oh, George, George, George.
- Mary! Let me touch you.

- Let me touch you.
- Oh, you're real!

Oh, George...

- You have no idea what happened to me.

You have no idea what happened.

Well, well, come on, George, come on
downstairs, quick. They're on their way.
- All right.
Come on!
Come on in here now.

Now, you stand right over here, by the tree.
Right there, and don't move, don't move.

- What's happening?
- Who's gonna come?

I hear 'em coming now, George,
it's a miracle!

It's a miracle!
- Who's coming?

Who's gonna come, Daddy?

Who, Daddy?
- I don't know.

Come in, Uncle Billy.
Everybody! In here!

Isn't it wonderful?
- So many faces!

Mary did it, George!
Mary did it!

She told some people
you were in trouble and then,
they scattered all over town
collecting money.

They didn't ask any questions - just said:
"If George is in trouble, count me in...

What is this, George?
Another run on the bank?

Here you are, George,
Merry Christmas.

The line forms on the right.

Merry Christmas!
- God bless you.

- Oh, Mr. Martini!

Merry Christmas!

Step right up here.

I busted the jukebox, too!

- Mr. Gower!

I made the rounds of all my charge accounts.

- Violet Bick!
I'm not going to go, George. I changed my mind.
I've been saving this money for a divorce,
if ever I get a husband.

There you are, George.
I got the faculty all up out of bed.

And here's something for you to play with.

I wouldn't have a roof over my head
if it wasn't for you, George.

Just a minute.
Just a minute.

Quiet, everybody.
Quiet, quiet.

I just got this. It's from London.
- Oh.

Mr. Gower cabled you need cash. Stop.

My office instructed to advance you
up to twenty-five thousand dollars. Stop.

Hee-haw and Merry Christmas.
Sam Wainwright.

- Mr. Martini. How about some wine?

"Hark, the Herald angels sing

Glory to the new-born king.

Peace on earth, and mercy mild,

God and sinners reconciled.

Joyful all ye nations rise,

Join the triumph of the skies,

With angelic hosts proclaim

Christ is born in Bethlehem."

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Our "Target" Popuation

My interest in a person is not limited to "will they join my church?" --what a stomach-turning thought!-- but think with me metaphorically for a bit.  What if we've set up a small soup kitchen to feed a needy community . . . I don't want my rich neighbors driving up to eat up our limited bowls of soup!

Soup? Rich neighbors? What? Let me expand on the metaphor and apply it to being/doing church.

I'm not sorry when believers from other local churches benefit from SGF's efforts (such as our Parenting or Marriage Courses), but with a limited amount of energy/time/money I would want to primarily serve and relate to people who are not connected to a life-giving body. 

In everything we plan, I want us to be either increasing vertical relationships between humans and their Creator or increasing our peer-to-peer relationships with others.  If you see a trip to the Pumpkin Patch on our church calendar, it's not there on accident.  We intentionally create opportunities to expand our lives to touch others around us, to invite the uninvited, to help others come into a positive contact with God and his church.  If there's a Go-Deep or a trip to Bethel planned, it's all flowing out of a desire to increase relationship . . . in that case both vertically and among those who make the trip down to Redding.

So how does that relate to a Marriage Course or retreat/campout or other high-investment activities?  I want to make sure that the energy that a home church is expending is going to the best possible recipients.  How would we know who are the "best recipients"?  Here are some target audiences that I would perk up and work hard to make a good course or event for:

  • people who used to know God but are adrift without fellowship or mission
  • people who have never known God (and are suspicious of the Church?)
  • people who want to try a course because they think they might lead it in their own church
  • people who specifically need that course (Marriage/Parenting) or event

Those people would make me excited to figure out how to run the course again!  I'm counting the cost of running a course, which is not a negligible expenditure of $ and energy, and I'm ready to start up the soup kitchen again.  But to expend our energy to feed people already eating at other tables?  Not exciting to me. 

I'd welcome your thoughts on this.  I don't feel that I've provided the definitive word on the matter or set down any laws.  I do know that I want my time and effort to be intentional and wisely distributed.*


*It's about relationships, but more specifically it's about intentional relationships.  I once added up the number of waking-non-working hours I have in a week to designate to building my family, resting/working/playing, and investing in people.  Not all that many!  I'm specific about which relationships I pour my life into, because I've counted my hours and I want to make my life count.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Focus Determines Direction

When I was 15.5 and got my driver's permit, my dad let me drive on roads with lines for the first time.  I remember well how scary it was to be driving so close to the oncoming traffic, and my dad calmly (how does he do that?) told me that I was hugging the inside of my lane and that I needed to shift toward the outside for safety.

I tried, but it seemed like I was always drifting back toward my left, toward the inside line.  Eventually--and although it seemed like this epiphany was a long time coming I don't know how long it took, really--my dad asked me "Where are you looking?"  I was looking at the lines, of course!  He calmly (again, how did he do that?) suggested that I look at the outside lines instead. 

Here's the point: when I shifted my focus to the outside lines, my car drifted within the lane so that I was much farther away from the oncoming traffic.  We both felt better, and in time I learned to drive in the middle of the lane.  The important lesson that I learned was that my focus determined my direction.  

And as an adult I still see that truth in action.  When I focus on finances, they grow on my mind until they seem like the all-consuming topic.  When my focus is on house remodeling, I automatically give less energy/time/emotional resources to my family, church, and friends.  When I recently focused on parenting as a topic, I found that my conversations tended toward that line in the road.

Where do you want your focus to be?  I want Jesus to be the direction my car naturally drifts.  I want to have books on my nightstand and blogs/sites open in my Firefox that help my heart naturally shift toward a God-focus.  When I talk with a friend and he says "Yeah, I'm reading such-and-such book and it's really challenging me to pray more" my heart sings. 

Challenge: Take stock of where your attention is taking your heart.  What do you read/watch/listen-to, and where is it taking your heart?  Where do you want your heart's direction to go?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"The Church is going to church at the church."

The Church is a group of people (aka the Bride of Christ), but it's also something that we have/do when we convene ourselves and it's also a building: "The Church is going to church at the church."

We have no building (on purpose), so that one point is cleared up.  Easy.  We are a fellowship of home churches so we are properly using the term "Church" in that sense.  Got it.  But what about that third usage of the term?  The one where we "go to church" or "meet as a church"?   Hmmm.

I was talking with a friend last week who was excited to have invited a neighbor to her life group.  The neighbor had come and experienced God and was glad to return the following week.  That's cool!  Really cool--I like that.  To her, "life group," can refer to either the group or the meeting that the group creates, and in this case what my friend had invited her neighbor to was the meeting called "life group."

At this point I'm part of the Jellyfish home church.  I build my relationships intentionally with that group always in mind.  But we never "go" to Jellyfish, because we've never made Jellyfish something to go to.  And, after five months of being church, I find that I do, after all, need something to "go to."  A meeting, regardless of whether it's consistent or spontaneous, is an element that is different from the social "being church" and has been a missing ingredient from SGF these five months.

So let's have meetings.  Let's not call them "Jellyfish," though, because I want to keep the terms cleaner than that.  Jellyfish will meet to seek God.  These meetings will have a name.  Tonight we're trying on the name GoDeep: "Tonight Jellyfish is meeting to GoDeep."  We'll see if it sticks...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Gifted or Blessed?

I'm heading down to a presentation opportunity in Texas--later today, in fact.  I'm not nervous precisely, but I know I'm not as good or smooth of a public speaker as my heroes* are, and I suffer in the comparison.

What am I most afraid of?  I don't want for them to regret having offered me my first chance to keynote.  I find myself putting on a brave exterior--already mentally practicing my confidence as I enter the reception tomorrow night and smile and shake hands with lots of people--but on the inside I am not secure.  I know they like me, I just don't know that they are still happy to have chosen me to Keynote.  They consider me a "gifted presenter" . . . what happens when they find out that I'm just an ordinary presenter who's learned some good tricks?

The Holy Spirit tapped me this morning and had me consider how I felt when they asked me to come to Texas, first as "Featured Presenter" and now as "Keynote Speaker."  Did I feel like it was my just desserts for doing a good job with my other sessions?  No!  Not at all!  I was overcome with awareness of blessing.  "'Test me in this,' says the LORD Almighty, 'and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.'"

One explanation for being invited to keynote is that I'm just that good--my giftedness is opening new doors.  Every good gift comes from God, so that's not a less-pious explanation than blessing, but I'd rather have God's blessing than God's gift (I think right now I have both). 

When the achievement of being honored is based on my talent, that's a bit more secure.  I can have an easy grace and confidence because I really am that good.  If they don't like me, there are others who will recognize my gift and life will go on.  With blessing, on the other hand, I don't know if I can ever get used to the honors and accolades.  How can I, when I feel like an impostor who gets invited to all these great events and nobody seems to realize that I'm not "all that," after all?

With blessing, I remember who got me the job and lay responsibility back at His feet.  "Lord, standing up here is your blessing to me.  How people perceive me has some to do with my performance and lots to do with your blessing."  I have worked HARD on this keynote, and I'm ready.  But the outcome of the venture does not rest in my hands.

I'm blessed!

*My heroes, in the public speaking category anyway, are the TED Talks.  I have them in my iTunes podcast and I watch them for inspiration.  (I also pick out the best of them to show my students at the high school.)  None of them are longer than 20 minutes, and they are really amazing.  If I were you I'd start with a podcast called "A Taste of TED Talks" because those are pre-selected to be some of the best. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

"We don't GO to church . . ."

Can this public booth be my private confessional?

Last night I was asked--again--"So . . . where do you go to church?" And I felt awkward and I flubbed my answer--again.

It is a normal question. The question will NEVER not be "Where do you go to church?" in my lifetime, so I need to get used to it.

When someone asks "Hey, where do you go to church at?" this is not an invitation to converse about the negatives of church-building-based Christianity. We can get coffee and discuss the downsides of owning a church building sometime, but that's not the point when someone innocently asks which building you center your Christian experience at.

The flub of an answer that I gave last night was "We don't go to church, we ARE the church." Oh yes, it's theologically more correct, but I flinch at the arrogance. And talking with God about it afterward, I think I now have a better response. I've practiced it so it's ready, and I'm hoping that when the next person asks me "Where do you go to church?" I'll be ready: "We are Shepherd's Gate Fellowship."

Is that so hard? It's true that I can't honestly use the same verb they used--I don't "go to" Shepherd's Gate Fellowship--but I don't need to belabor the point. I am SGF--you are SGF--and that answer can answer the awkwardness of the "where" question for the rest of my experience in dispersed church.

Lord, forgive me for being theologically correct in my arrogance. Thanks for letting me be SGF rather than attending a building-based experience. It is good.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Being Dispersed Church

Doing dispersed church is a ton of fun, but it is also (for me) learning a whole new lifestyle, and I saw recently how easy it is to slip back into a weekly quota mindset.

I've lived my whole life as a church-going Christian, and for the most part I've enjoyed it.  The notable exception was my three years in China.  Make no mistake, I LOVED LOVED LOVED living in China.  The part I didn't like was when the foreign missionaries would get together to have "church" on a Sunday morning.  I liked the people just fine, and many of them were a huge support to me while we were there, but when we got together and pretended to have a "real" church service, it was dreadful.  We tried to worship, we tried to preach, but it always felt a little forced.  Then we went our separate ways and shared the gospel with our students, discipled new believers, went on prayer walks to local temples, gave to those in need, and supported each other in our homesickness.  THAT was life.

But here in America, where you can have talented musicians and a paid pastor, I settled back into a mentality that actually inhibits the real life and activity that the church is supposed to be.  I'm not saying this is what happens to everyone--not at all--but I don't think I'm alone in this reaction, so I want to expose it to others as I find it in myself.  The reaction I'm talking about is this:  when a weekly church activity is on the calendar, my mind says, "Oh good.  That's when I'm being a Christian this week.  The rest of the time is mine to do with what I want."

I've given enough of my life over to the Holy Spirit that the "what I want" looks pretty innocuous.  I want to read good books (Christian or not).  I want to be alone.  I want to hang with friends.  I want to enjoy the outdoors.  I want to plan vacations--and take them.  I want to sleep in.  I want to see a good movie.  I want to do beautiful things with fabric.  I want to eat healthy foods.  Sound sinful?  Nope.

But look what's missing:  I want to experience God's presence in worship.  I want to get after it in prayer for a particular person I'm reaching out to.  I want to give my time to someone who needs my help.  I want to listen for the Holy Spirit's direction when I get up in the morning.  I want to be intentional about being led by the spirit and not by the flesh.  I want to love people, not just experience them loving me.

My flesh loves me so much.  My flesh takes really good care of me.  My flesh is always looking for a way to protect me, to make things comfy for me, to keep me feeling good.  Jesus isn't really trying to do that.  He's trying to show me that when I let my spirit lead, right on the heels of the Holy Spirit, my flesh squirms a little at first and then I break through into real LIFE.  When my spirit is taking charge over my flesh, I get list two (above), and usually a lot of things from list one.  When my flesh is taking charge, I get list one, and my spirit fights for some representation with some of the other things.  I do them because I know it's right, but it feels like a fight--because it is!  It's a fight with my own self.

When we left Desert Streams in January to be the church dispersed, I experienced some serious freedom of spirit-led living.  I love Jesus too much to let a lack of church "attendance" cause me to dump everything I've been living for, so when I took away the formal church attendance, the weekly requirements, my spirit soared.  Finally!  My flesh couldn't check boxes, so my spirit got the upper hand.  I couldn't believe how good it felt--how simple, how freeing, how genuine.  Taking away the framework wouldn't have been able to reveal what wasn't there: I did grow and learn how to be a believer in a traditional church model, so I'm not saying it was all bad.  I just allowed the framework to limit my expression of who I was in Christ.

So what happened recently to get me thinking about all this?  One simple thing:  we planned a weekly meeting to watch a DVD series.  PLEASE HEAR ME:  planning to watch the series with some friends was not a bad thing. 

It's actually a significant act of outreach and spreading the Kingdom because we're watching it with some unbelieving friends who we love very much.  Practically speaking, it made sense to pick a night of the week and stick to it.  But we're learning a new way of doing things, and that was part of the old way.  My sneaky flesh (wait a minute--isn't it supposed to be dead?) found a way of reasserting its protectiveness.  "Oh--you're going to nourish your spirit with a sermon on parenting and reach out to unbelievers at the same time?  Cool.  I guess that means the rest of the week is mine."   Can you believe the cheek of it?  My flesh is so thoroughly devoted to the preservation of "me" that it has a pretty one-track mind and doesn't reason very well.  Had I realized this was happening I would have done something about it right away, but I didn't see it at first.  It's only looking back that I see that at the same time I stopped opening my home for dinners with the rest of my church.  At the same time I tried to fit praying together into a different slot for the week and couldn't make it work.  At the same time I stopped asking the Lord what He had planned for the day and started just sort of planning things out for myself.  At the same time I lost the freedom feeling and found the old familiar flesh vs. spirit struggle.

So I repent for putting a framework on my spirit-life again.  I guess I'll have to be less practical and really take it one week at a time, one day at a time.  If it happens that for 6 weeks in a row the same group of people wants to meet on Thursday night and watch the parenting series, beautiful.  The funny thing is this--it sounded like it would make things easier to decide on a meeting time and stick to it, but it actually made it harder.  It triggered a flesh-spirit battle in me that wasted some valuable time, and it caused some frustrating scheduling angst because it turned out we couldn't keep it consistent after all.  Wow.  I'm trying to end this letter but I keep finding more things to learn.  Bottom line, surprise surprise, is that people are the important thing.  Relationships are the way Kingdom happens, and anything that makes an artificial relationship leads away from spiritual freedom.  That's my experience anyway.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Submitting to the Arborist

Orchard trees are not a natural shape.  If you've driven through Wenatchee you know how unnatural a tree can be!
If a tree had a choice, would it submit itself to the arborist's knife?  Would it want to say "Let me throw off restraint; let me grow into the tree I was MEANT to be"?

Do submit yourself to the knife.  Pleasant and comfortable, natural growth . . . that doesn't produce the best fruit.  The arborist loves you and wants you to become all that you can become, and that's not wild and unpruned growth.

John 15:2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

Monday, March 21, 2011

No Cafeteria Meal

Our church is a family meal, not a cafeteria. In the cafeteria you can go through the food on offer and be picky. In fact you can just eat cereal for weeks on end if nothing else appeals to you. But just try that at home when mom has cooked good food! Nope--you gotta eat at least three bites of the food Mom made.

We know that not everyone likes camping, praying, service projects, discipleship groups, etc. in the same way or in the same degree. But part of what makes us a family is that we participate together. There is no sense here at SGF that people are picky about what they'll put on their plate ("Eww--praying? I don't like praying!") . . . we as a fellowship are committed to participating with each other, and we come to the table ready to eat.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Chafing Yoke

Yokes tend to chafe if the one yoked (me) is trying to go sideways, too slow . . . or too fast.

Jesus was yoked to the Father, right?  Watch him do nothing without seeing first what the Father was doing.  How do we apply that to our lives, our yokes?  If we move too fast, the very activities and duties that we're doing in Christ's name . . . they chafe us, don't they?

The key to a light (chafeless) yoke is NOT about pulling as hard as I can to "please" the team-driver, but about going the right pace.  I have a growing suspicion that this right pace is quite a lot slower than most people suspect, and that it includes a lot more rest than most people take.

May your yoke rest easy, church!

Thanks to Mat Hudson for the Sermon Kernel!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Surfer Guy and Christianspeak

Yesterday I had the opportunity to be in a room with a whole bunch of Christians and one friend who doesn't already know the Lord.  My how we lingo!

The experience that the Christians were relating was very real and legitimate, but the expressions they were using were almost unintelligible to an outsider.  They were talking about the Holy Spirit invading their life and getting "whacked" with the power.  And the blood and the power of their testimony in spirit realms.  And so on.

Reminded me of this interview with a surfer guy.  I'm not in his community, and though I can see he's plainly excited about something going on, it's not communicating to me.

For a bonus, go see his interview remixed. It's fun! <grin>  (thanks Kira for the blog idea)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Big Idea vs Jellyfish

I just finished Phil Vischer's (think VeggieTales) autobiography.  Very touching story, and the lessons learned are so important I'm planning to read the last chapter of his book to the church tomorrow night when people gather at our house.
He gained a huge company and lost it all within 6 years.  Big Idea was ambitious, Phil pouring out his heart and life to serve the Kingdom . . . and now Big Idea is bankrupt and defunct.  Dreams broken.

Without him trying, God gave him a new concept for a new company. His new company is called Jellyfish, because jellyfish have to rely entirely on the current.  No power for self-propulsion.  Very, very cool metaphor.

Sometimes we feel like we have to propel our own boats to "serve God's Kingdom."  Row, lads, row!

I think the Lord is asking the Church to hop into his rubber raft, strap on helmets, and get ready for a ride.  What's in store?  Class 3 rapids are cool.  Class 5 are frightening.  Class 0?  You don't really have that for us, do you, Lord?  Lord?  Whatever the speed of travel and class of rapids (even boring 0 and too-much 5), we're hopping in the boat.  River, take us where you will.