"When you begin to think outside the box, you often become some other "leaders" lousy follower. That usually costs something" (Andy Rayner)

"Our guardian angels are bored." (Mike Foster)

It's where I feel I'm at these days. “In the second half of life, it is good just to be a part of the general dance. We do not have to stand out, make defining moves, or be better than anyone else on the dance floor. Life is more participatory than assertive, and there is no need for strong or further self-definition” (Falling Upward. Richard Rohr.120).

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Closing The Gap Between Beliefs And Experience

"Closing the gap between beliefs and experience through the prayer of faith is not only of paramount importance, it is our first responsibility every day of our lives. The Word I preach must become incarnate in my own experience. It is the journey from Haran to Canaan, the pilgrimage from theory into reality, from unawareness to awareness, from idea into experience, from trivial concerns to unified consciousness with Jesus. As Christ is formed in us, we come to know him more deeply. “Maybe it sounds arrogant to say we come to know Christ as we persevere in contemplative prayer. But the truth is not less than this. We come to know what it is to live every moment, every decision, joy or difficulty from within his presence and so out of the infinite resources of this power—the power of love and compassion, an unshakeable reality.”

( Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus )

Constantly Teaching About God Does Not of Itself Lead to Being With God

"In my personal life the greater part of each year is devoted to writing, thinking, and speaking about God, Jesus, faith, contemplative prayer, the gospel lifestyle, and so forth. It is a curious phenomenon that such noble Christian enterprises distance me from God. (I assume that this is true for all Christian writers, preachers, and teachers, as well as songwriters, musicians, and singers.) Constantly holding forth about God does not of itself lead to being with God. Writing about God somehow takes me away from directly responding to God in the present moment. Preaching about Jesus somehow clouds my presence to the Reality I am proclaiming. In both situations, what is missing is any sense of felt intimacy with God through faith. Yet my beliefs remain vigorous and rooted."

( Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus )

Have We Experienced The Relentless Tenderness Of Jesus?

"As was stated in the opening chapter, the tragedy in the church today is that we have confused beliefs and faith, doctrines and lived experience. Contemplative prayer bridges the gap between belief and experience because it is the bridge of faith. It teaches us what theology alone could never convince us of—that God is love. It takes us on the longest and most dangerous journey of all, from the head to the heart wherein we taste and existentially experience the relentless tenderness of Jesus Christ. We come to know the compassion of Christ not as an abstraction but in the lived experience of his acceptance of us as sinners, as imperfect people caught up in a struggle in which we sometimes sell out ourselves or others."
(Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

You Are Already United With God

"During a conference on contemplative prayer, the question was put to Thomas Merton, “How can we best help people to attain union with God?” His answer was very clear: We must tell them that they are already united with God. “Contemplative prayer is nothing other than ‘coming into consciousness’ of what is already there.”

( Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus )

God Expects More Failure From Us Than We Expect From Ourselves.?

"One Good Friday morning at 2:00 A.M., as I prayed in faith I heard him say, “Little brother, I witnessed a Peter who claimed that he did not know me, a James who wanted power in return for service, a Philip who failed to see the Father in me, and scores of disciples who were convinced I was finished on Calvary. The New Testament has many examples of men and women who started out well and then faltered along the way.

“Yet on Easter night I appeared to Peter; James is not remembered for his ambition but for the sacrifice of his life for the kingdom; Philip did see the Father in me when I pointed the way; and the disciples who despaired had enough courage to recognize me as the stranger who walked the road to Emmaus. My point, little brother, is this: I expect more failure from you than you expect from yourself.”

In season and out of season, in success and failure, in grace and disgrace, the courage to risk everything on the signature of Jesus is the mark of authentic discipleship."

(Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

Jesus Delivers Us From Perfectionisms Depression

"Our failure to have done with our lives what we longed to accomplish weighs heavy on most of us. The disparity between our ideal self and our real self, the specter of past infidelities, the awareness that my behavior often flatly denies my beliefs, the pressure of conformity, and our nostalgia for lost innocence reinforce a nagging sense of existential guilt: I have failed. This is the cross we never expected, the one we find hardest to bear. We can no longer differentiate between our perception of ourselves and the mystery we really are.

The pernicious myth “once converted, fully converted” creates the impression that in one blinding bolt of salvation Christ expects our lives to be freed from contradictions and perplexities. The curse of perfectionism triggers episodes of depression and anxiety. Who will acquit us of guilt? Who will deliver us from the bondage of perfectionism and failure? Once again, it is the signature of Jesus that
rescues us from ourselves."

(Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Spiritual Pioneers Do Not Have It Easy.

I don't consider myself a pioneer, maybe an extremely early adopter.
However, I think David, aka - "The Naked Pastor" summarized how it really is when you launch out from the pack.


Consummed With Consumers As A Church

"Leadership gurus, frequently and authoritatively tell us that 20% of those who attend church are consumed with consumers.  That is that they spend their gifts and abilities on eighty percent of church attenders who simply show up once a week to watch. I for one am not in favour of propagating this." (Karl Ingersoll​​)

Working To Hard At "Church"....

My kingdom is not of this world." John 18:36

"The great enemy to the Lord Jesus Christ in the present day is the conception of practical work that has not come from the New Testament, but from the Systems of the world in which endless energy and activities are insisted upon, but no private life with God. The emphasis is put on the wrong thing. Jesus said, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation, for lo the kingdom of God is within you," a hidden, obscure thing. An active Christian worker too often lives in the shop window. It is the innermost of the innermost that reveals the power of the life.

We have to get rid of the plague of the spirit of the religious age in which we live. In Our Lord's life there was none of the press and rush of tremendous activity that we regard so highly, and the disciple is to be as His Master. The central thing about the kingdom of Jesus Christ is a personal relationship to Himself, not public usefulness to men.

It is not its practical activities that are the strength of this Bible Training College, its whole strength lies in the fact that here you are put into soak before God. You have no idea of where God is going to engineer your circumstances, no knowledge of what strain is going to be put on you either at home or abroad, and if you waste your time in over-active energies instead of getting into soak on the great fundamental truths of God's Redemption, you will snap when the strain comes; but if this time of soaking before God is being spent in getting rooted and grounded in God on the unpractical line, you will remain true to Him what ever happens."

-- Oswald Chambers

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bivocational Ministry Is Actually the most "Normal" Ministry.

I am bi-vocational, and was discipled and baptized as a young man by a bi-vocational minister. They are the norm, and majority. 

6 Realities & Trends In Bivocational Ministry

workers sign e1413521884144 6 Realities & Trends In Bivocational MinistryI’m not a church planter. But I spent three days teaching at the Exponential West conference for church planters last week.
I’ve also never been bivocational. But almost all the teaching I did was with bivocational pastors – most of it tag-team teaching with Hugh Halter and Artie Davis.
So why was I there? The one thing we all have in common is the Small Church experience.
I had a great time sharing my story and the lessons learned along the way, and hearing their stories, too. Bivocational pastors have a lot to teach the rest of us.
Because of the chance to spend so much time together (over 10 hours of teaching and conversations) we all learned a lot about the current state of bivocational ministry and some trends we’re likely to see in the near future.
Here’s a recap of six of them.

1. Bivocational Ministry Is Not Rare

Most of the pastors in the world are bivocational. Always have been.
If you live and minister, as I do, in certain segments of the world where there are larger churches with full-time staffs, it’s easy to start thinking of that as the normal church and pastor experience. It’s not. It’s fine, but it isn’t normal. Bivocational ministry is how most of the world’s Christians are pastored.

2. A Bivocational Pastor Is Not Half a Pastor

Hugh Halter pointed out that, when 1 Timothy tells us “elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor,” it’s not because pastors are more important than others. It’s because bivocationality was so universal for leaders in the early church that the believers were encouraged to give an extra blessing to those who were making such extraordinary sacrifices for the church body. Double the sacrifice, double the honor. 

3. Bivocationalty Is not a Problem that Needs Fixing

The Apostle Paul was a bivocational pastor. In fact, some people still refer to bivocational pastors as tentmakers because it was Paul’s profession. Obviously, Paul’s ministry didn’t need fixing. There’s nothing “less than” about a bivocational ministry.

4. Bivocational Ministry Is Not Always Temporary

Many, maybe most of the bivocational pastors I talked to weren’t bivocational by choice, but out of necessity – and they were hoping it would be a very short temporary situation. But, just like many Small Church pastors expect their small size to be temporary, it often ends up being their regular state of ministry. We need to get used to the idea that bivocational ministry is more than a pit-stop along the way to full-time ministry, because…

5. Bivocational Ministry Is a Better Choice for Many Churches & Pastors

I learned a lot from Hugh Halter last week. I recommend his book, BiVo, for more good information of this topic. Hugh is bivocational by choice. And he makes some very strong arguments that it is often a better choice for many pastors and many churches, because being bivocational…
  • Allows for more money to go to hands-on ministry
  • Keeps pastors in touch with the unchurched and their real-world needs
  • Frees us from being trapped in the “ministry bubble”
  • Requires us to fulfill our biblical calling to train others to do the work of ministry
  • Makes the priesthood of all believers more of a reality, not just a theological belief
  • …and more
Artie Davis, whose church has grown to be quite large and could easily stop being bivocational, has also chosen to keep his janitorial business as his primary income source for many of the same reasons.

6. Bivocational Pastoring Is Likely to Become the New Normal

As I mentioned last week, in the post, My Church Is an Endangered Species, Unless…, one of the “unlesses” was that bivocational ministry may be a financial necessity for the survival of many small- to mid-sized churches in the coming years. That’s always been true for many churches in small towns, but it’s going to be more common in large population centers too. Demographic shifts and changes in why and how much people give will make bivocational ministry a necessity for many city and suburban churches if they hope to survive and thrive.

It’s Time to Sing the Unsung Heroes

Bivocational ministry has always been with us. And it always will. In fact, some of the greatest heroes of the faith, like the Apostle Paul, were and are bivocational pastors.
We’ll never know most of their names. But we can learn a lot from their sacrificial examples.
They deserve our support, our prayer and our fellowship.
If you’re BiVo, on behalf of the church I thank you for all you do. In the very near future, you may not be coming to our conferences to learn about pastoring, we may be coming to you.

Squinting To See Blessing

“I can, with one eye squinted, take it all as a blessing.”


(Flannery O'Connor)

Why Ebola Kills The Most Loving

"Ebola is a tragic and frightening disease, because it is transmitted by the most basic human acts of community.  Wiping tears, carrying a child, cleaning up a mess, hugging.  And it seeks out those most caring."

(Dr. Who survived Ebola treating patients in Uganda in 2007)
Link

Beauty Is Not A "Skill"

"Beauty should not be mistaken for a skill set." (William Hickox)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Standing In The Face Of Pain And Still Calling God "Father"

"The pattern of Christian spirituality is...the rhythm of standing in the presence of the pain of the world, and kneeling in the presence of the creator of the world; of bringing those two things together in the name of Jesus and by the victory of the cross; of living on the tension of the double Advent, and of calling God 'Father'." (NT. Wright)

Talking Is Telling OLD Insights

“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know; But when you listen, you may learn something new.” -DALAI LAMA

Church Is "Travelling Together"

"Called out of Slavery The Church is the people of God. The Latin word for "church," ecclesia, comes from the Greek ek, which means "out," and kaleo, which means "to call.” The Church is the people of God called out of slavery to freedom, sin to salvation, despair to hope, darkness to light, an existence centered on death to an existence focused on life.

When we think of Church we have to think of a body of people, travelling together. We have to envision women, men, and children of all ages, races, and societies supporting one another on their long and often tiresome journeys to their final home."

(Henri Nouwen)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Labor Laws That Creates Migrant Workers

"The coastal machetero is forced by the labor laws of Ecuador, passed to protect his interests but achieving just the opposite, into the animal life of a migrant worker. The law states that after three months on any farm the worker is entitled to certain rights and benefits, extra pay which amounts to fifteen months of pay for twelve months of work. The only practical result of such a law is that after three months the worker is fired. And sadder still, from the employer’s viewpoint, at the end of two months, knowing that he's going to be fired it at any moment, the average machetero turns into a gold brick."
(Moritz Thomsen. The Farm On The River of Emeralds)

Gracious Failure......

"Mature Christians are those who have failed and learned to live gracefully with their failure."
(Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

Logical Excuses For Doing Nothing

"Wise and prudent people that we are, we manufacture a thousand logical excuses for doing nothing.
(Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

Institutional Ossification

"When an institution is young, it is flexible, fluid, willing to try anything once. As the institution ages, risk-taking decreases, daring gives way to rigidity, creativity fades, the capacity to meet new challenges from unexpected directions is lost. The same processes at work in the demise of institutions likewise operate in the decline of individuals. “Why is it,” John Gardner asks, “that so many people are mummified by the time of middle age?” Why do some people settle into rigid and unchanging views on God and church by the time they are thirty years old? Why do we fall into a stupor of mind and spirit long before we are golden girls and boys? Is it inevitable that we surrender our youthfulness and our capacity to grow and change? Is personal renewal, the seedbed of community renewal, possible?"

(Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

Life will Soon Be a Thick Gelatinous Stream of Comfortability And Ignorance

"Conservative historians describe any man with a passion for greatness as a megalomaniac. “Look at him,” they say to one another, “the idiot! Why doesn’t he settle down and establish himself in the community? Why is he forever restless, forever trying to get something beyond him? The man is crazy.” These conservatives are partly right. Play life safe and you will keep out of harm. Be careful, be cautious, don’t take risks and you will never die on Mount St. Helens. Your failure is measured by your aspirations. Aspire not, and you cannot fail. Columbus died in chains. Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. Let us all live snugly without risk, and life will soon be little more than a thick gelatinous stream of comfortability and ignorance."
(Myles Connolly, Mr. Blue (New York: Macmillan, 1928), 91.)

I Never Knew Before That What Jesus Did Was Enough.....

"In pensive moments I wonder if I really have the courage to risk everything on the gospel of grace and accept the total sufficiency of Christ’s redeeming work. My futile attempts at self-improvement, the sadness that I am not yet perfect, the boasting about my victories in the vineyard, my sensitivity to criticism, and the lack of self-acceptance belie my profession of faith that Jesus is Lord—lip service from a shackled servant still in bondage to the insecurity that wears a thousand masks, still lacking the courage to risk all on him who is all, still thrashing about trying to fix myself, still struggling for that elusive achievement that will make me presentable to God. Brennan the basket case!
False modesty? No, otherwise why was I rattled when, after a sermon I preached in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, evangelist Tommy Tyson looked up with tears in his eyes and said, “Something wonderful just happened to me: I know as I have never known before that what Jesus did was enough.”"

(Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

The Time For Pussyfooting Faith Is Finished?

"Whenever the Spirit of God breaks into our lives—in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week, or the middle of a lifetime—it is to announce in some fashion that the time for pussyfooting is over....

The Spirit sets us free from our self-imposed limits and moves us out into uncharted waters. Our secure, well-regulated, and largely risk-free lives are blown apart. The Spirit saves us from “both our high idealism (with all its ego investment) and our low self-esteem (with its even more intense ego investment) and lifts us beyond our utmost bounds to undreamed-of possibilities, to the idealism of God himself.” "
(Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

Bellyful With Our Sermonizing

"The gospel of Jesus Christ is not to be forced upon an unwilling world. To put it bluntly, people have had their bellyful of our sermonizing. They want a source of strength for their lives. We can recommend it only by making it actively present in our own. In terms of church growth for the next decade, the operative principle is “less is more.”"

( Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus )

Being Reasonably Offensive?

"Today Christianity is largely inoffensive, and this kind of religion never will transform anything. Because you refuse to buy into “cheap grace” that keeps faith solely on the intellectual level, refusing to dirty its Christian hands with the messy problems besetting church and country, you will be called bad names and perhaps much worse. Jesus Christ offended the religious and political order of Palestine. The Christian, too, is bound to give offense, and if he or she does not, it is a bad sign—it means they cannot be very Christian."
(Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

Compromised Christian. .....

"A word of caution: The cadre of fools for Christ will disturb the establishment because they stand as a sign of contradiction to the compromises many Christians have married."
(Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Wage That Barely Pays For The Food We Eat.

"The average farm worker in the coastal areas is a very special kind of man, a kind of hero, actually. In the traumatic break that occurs when he has decided to move away from the domination of his family and make his own way, he has, in choosing to be a machetero, made a tremendous decision; the other alternative was to be a thief. Very broadly speaking these represent the two alternatives that offer themselves to a young man with no more than three or four years of schooling, trained to do nothing but paddle a canoe or slash at weeds, and faced with a bleak future. It is a thankless life; a machetero is the national garbage, the lowest form of human life. And he is the man who produces the national wealth. No one chooses to be a machetero on a permanent basis.... The average, bright young machetero lasts about three years; he makes a wage that scarcely pays for the food he eats to give him the strength to keep working.... When he needs a new shirt or a pair of pants he makes elaborate plans, floats loans, eats a little less food for a couple of weeks." (Moritz Thomsen. The Farm On The River of Emeralds)

Help Me See Your People.

"This is Ramón's country; he has lived here all his life and he understands the people -— their customs, their ways of thinking, the pressures that twist them, the drives that consume them, the things they want, and the things that make them proud or ashamed. Ramon understands all this so much better than I will ever be able to that most of the time I simply take Ramon’s judgment as my own. Ramon is my eyes and ears; he is a patient translator who explains the truth behind appearance."

(Moritz Thomsen. The Farm On The River of Emeralds)

Confused Structures of Religion

"Many people have confused the structures of religion with revelation and faith. The discipline of the secret insists that Jesus not only is the center of the gospel but of our entire Christian life. Only allegiance to him and imitation of his life will make Christianity credible."
(Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

Confused Discipleship

"I remind every follower of Jesus that discipleship means nothing less than being ready to obey Christ as unconditionally as the first disciples. Only he who believes is obedient, and only he who is obedient believes. Never confuse success in ministry or knowledge of the Bible or mastery of Christian principles and ideas with holiness and authentic discipleship. They may well be the corruption of discipleship if your life is not hidden with Christ in God."

(Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

More Fools......

“It seems as if the world needs fools—fools for Christ! For it is such fools that have changed the face of the earth.” (Catherine de Hueck Doherty)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Rocky Idols

"Idols don't need to be carved out of rocks; than can be carved out of false concepts." (Jim Palmer)

Friday, October 10, 2014

After Religion Has Its Say There Still Remains................?

A.W. Tozer: The Pursuit of God:
“The continuous and unembarrassed interchange of love and thought between God and the soul of the redeemed man is the throbbing heart of New Testament religion.”
“The moment the Spirit has quickened us to life in regeneration our whole being senses its kinship to God and leaps up in joyous recognition.”
“David's life was a torrent of spiritual desire, and his psalms ring with the cry of the seeker and the glad shout of the finder. Paul confessed the mainspring of his life to be his burning desire after Christ.”
“I want deliberately to encourage this mighty longing after God.  The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate.  The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire.”
“If we would find God amid all the religious externals we must first determine to find Him, and then proceed in the way of simplicity.  Now as always God discovers Himself to ‘babes’ and hides Himself in thick darkness from the wise and prudent… We must put away all efforts to impress, and come with the guileless candor of childhood.  If we do this, without doubt God will quickly respond.”
“When religion has said its last word, there is little that we need other than God Himself.”

Deliver Us The Goods Style Church: Taking Responsibility For Our Spiritual Life.

I think I still believe also......
"I believe in gatherings that are small, because we need the support, encouragement, and deeper growth that comes from this type of community.
I believe in gatherings where everyone is known so that no one gets lost.I believe in gatherings where we can learn from each other’s personal lives and stories (not just head knowledge) so that growth and discipleship takes place in the context of genuine, healthy relationship.
I believe in gatherings that are participatory because this involves and engages the entire body of Christ.
I believe in gatherings that call the body of Christ to take responsibility for its own spiritual life and stop relying on mediators, events, or someone else to “bring us the goods” because we need to grow up.
I believe in gatherings that are simple so that we are free to spend time with nonChristians and have the time to invite them into our lives.
I believe in gatherings that are easily multiplied, so that we can see people released to reach people anywhere, disciple people everywhere, and start “churches” at any time in any place.
I believe in gatherings that are inexpensive so that money is freed up for apostolic workers and the needs of the poor.
Is there one particular “model” that all of this fits into?  Not necessarily. I think God will constantly challenge, stretch, and re-shape our man-made attempts to “do” church gatherings.  And I think that is good.  The point is to keep focusing on maximizing our life with Him, our partnership with His purposes, and our spiritual growth.

After reading the article my friend Cliff Vogh wrote:
"I believe in knowing people and not letting them or myself get lost. I believe that I must participate and allow for the participation of others so that we grow beyond the depth we had yesterday. I believe that I am my brother's keeper and he is mine. That I am to look not only to my own interests, but also the interests of others. We are all called to pursue the likeness of Christ. That is the business of life. "Church" exists that we can help and get help in that business. We are all mediators. I don't think we need to gather corporately to achieve these ideals. We need to get to work living these ideals."

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Feeling Poverty?

"I was being assaulted on all sides by this culture of poverty which I had so naively decided to embrace, and I was getting to the point where I didn’t know what I felt about things anymore — or even what I was supposed to feel."
(Moritz Thomsen. The Farm On The River of Emeralds)

Modest Expectations Hard To Fulfill

"How modest their expectations and, in this brutal land, how impossible to fulfill."
(Moritz Thomsen. The Farm On The River of Emeralds)

Teach Youth Before 12 Years Of Age Or It's Too Late?

(Ramón a black Ecuadorian) he had told me that the Peace Corps would never accomplish a thing in the way of change until it began to work exclusively with the youngest of the nation’s children; by the time a boy was twelve he was set in his ways for life."

(Moritz Thomsen. The Farm On The River of Emeralds)

fifteen times more energy per acre than a farmer in an undeveloped country.

"But if you take the passion out of farming what is there left but drudgery? I had wanted to stun the province with the twentieth- century technology that I had picked up in California, that modern system of farming that uses fifteen times more energy per acre than a farmer in an undeveloped country. I wanted to raise three tons of corn to the acre instead of Ecuador’s normal six sacks. It was mighty frustrating (mighty embarrassing, too — what puzzled looks Ramon gave me) — after all the disking, the smoothing, the machine planting, the fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides —- to finally harvest, oh, say ten sacks and end up $150 per acre in the hole. We went back to thirteenth-century techniques, but not knowing which saint to pray to I felt somewhat superfluous, and after planting corn for a couple of days with a sharp stick I was as bored as I had ever been in my life." (Moritz Thomsen. The Farm On The River of Emeralds)

Science and Technology in the Tropics are Whores

"Science and technology in the tropics are whores."

"But if you take the passion out of farming what is there left but drudgery?"
(Moritz Thomsen. The Farm On The River of Emeralds)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Simple Church - It's just as good to be Abased as to Abound.

"Something that has been incredibly important to Felicity and I over the years. The first church we started was at Bart's hospital back, you know in the early 70's. And One of the principles the Holy Spirit taught us then was that we are never to build enough structure into something that it can survive without the Holy Spirit. That's remained a guiding principle for us. We don't want to build something that can still survive with or without God."
(Tony Dale Felicity Dale. Nomad Podcast Interview) 
"We had to learn that success in Gods ideas is not measured by what we do, but it's measured, really, by how much like Jesus we become." (Tony Dale)  

"We had to learn that it's just as good to be abased as to abound. Both are part of the pathway. God's free to do what he wants. The pot doesn't  say to the potter, "You are not allowed to do this". (Tony Dale)

"Simple church is no panacea for all ills. And certainly in the states where huge numbers are moving into simple organic type structures. One of the challenges is they are are bringing a lot of their preconceived ideas about church with them, and we see a lot of what we describe a lot as, "Honey, I shrunk the church."  And, I think we work with the light we have. It's not that people are doing something wrong. But their perhaps not realizing they are just bringing a whole lot of baggage with them that just doesn't apply in smaller settings, more informal settings where we are really trying to live church to be church, rather than to "Do church"." (Tony Dale).

Quotes from Nomad Podcast Podcast #37: Tony and Felicity Dale and Simplifying the church

Monday, October 6, 2014

Spirituality Is Not A Performance Of Activity - It's The Measure Of A Relationship

Spirituality is not a formula; it is not a test. It is a relationship. Spirituality is not about competency; it is about intimacy. Spirituality is not about perfection; it is about connection. The way of the spiritual life begins where we are now in the mess of our lives. Accepting the reality of our broken, flawed lives is the beginning of spirituality not because the spiritual life will remove our flaws but because we let go of seeking perfection and, instead, seek God, the one who is present in the tangledness of our lives.
... Mike Yaconelli (1942-2003), Messy Spirituality

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Why We Invest In Our City And Community As A Church

'Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (NIV) Jer 29: 7

True Worship Is Only Shared Among Those On Mission?

Notice the second half..... wow oh wow....

"Worship is the summit of the church’s life, the fount of all ministry, the shared solidarity in community that makes fidelity to Jesus possible. Worship, as an expression of the discipline of the secret, is not for dilettantes seeking entertainment. It is only for small groups of clearly committed Christians who comprise an intense community on the basis of their common, intense loyalty to Christ; and their expression of the meaning of that loyalty and community is communicated to and with one another in worship.…"
(Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Can You See Christianity?

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

(C.S. Lewis)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fasting From Noise And Babble

“God commands recourse to the abyss of silence so that we might hear him in it: “Be still, and know that I am God.” Much has been written about the need for better Church music, and rightly so. Yet greater is the need for better silence. The best times to press this need are the penitential seasons, especially Lent. Our shepherds should urge us to emulate our ancestors, who knew the importance of fasting not only from food and drink but also from noise and babble.”

Sunday, September 28, 2014

It Placates the Lukewarm and Cools the Zealous

"My experience with church ministry matched neither the hunger that churned so deep within me nor what I perceived to be the challenge of Scripture. In one moment all my excuses were swept away by a mass of evidence I could no longer ignore. When I looked for whys I kept coming to the same conclusion: Our application of present-day Christianity was deficient. I knew it wasn't the people; those I worked with loved the Lord deeply. I knew it wasn't a disregard for Scripture; we believed it whole- heartedly. I knew it wasn't a lack of knowledge; I already knew far more than I was living out at the time.

But when I looked at how church ministry operated, I saw how high a priority it places on safety and routine. At the cost of distracting people from personal intimacy with Jesus, it clings to the status quo. It placates the lukewarm and cools the zealous. Not only has it failed to lead us to the fullness of relationship with Jesus, it has more often lured us away from it."
(The Naked Church.  Wayne Jacobsen pg 12)

Mutual Pity In Cross Cultural Relationships

"We first became friends probably out of an almost identical sense of pity for one another. Any American can, I suppose, imagine my pity for Ramon. It was grounded in the contemplation of an intelligent and ambitious youth chained by circumstances to crushing and lifelong poverty in a poor country that offered no future to its ineptly educated citizens. Ramon's pity for me was just as basic as he watched me moving about, confused and frightened in his strange world. I was unable to communicate with anyone about anything but the most animal needs of survival. Except for bananas, and I didn’t know the Spanish word for them, I was unable to identify a single fruit or plant. I couldn’t catch a fish or paddle a canoe or net a shrimp or weave a piece of rope out of a vine or find my way on a jungle trail or even walk on one for more than fifty feet without sinking up to my knees in mud. I couldn‘t machete out a patch of weeds or fix a leaking roof. I couldn’t even cook a pot of rice that didn‘t come out like a great mass of glue. Jesus, I couldn’t even walk a hundred feet without shoes. Ramon found my ignorance so overwhelming that he could hardly bear it; he was confused between tears, depression, and anger. Chances are when I macheted down a tree it would fall on me, hopelessly entangling me in its spiny branches; paddling across the river I was almost inevitably swept out into the rip tides where the ocean breakers crashed onto the sandbar. In the middle of all this, to hear me speak of my four years at university filled Ramon with an incredulous impatience, and about the third time I mentioned my educational qualifications for arriving to overturn his life, he asked me if, in view of my obvious ignorance of everything that he had taken for granted since he was three years old, I would please
lay off the higher education bullshit."

(Moritz Thomsen.The Farm On The River of Emeralds)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Escaping Old Ideas

“The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.”

(John Maynard Keynes)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Living in Cities Of Lost Civilizations

"I wonder what it’s like to live in a city that is built upon lost civilizations and early generations."  (Brenton Dickieson)

The Devil Loves Church Planting Says Charles Spurgeon

I do not think the devil cares how many churches you build, if only you have lukewarm preachers and people in them.
--Charles Spurgeon