Monday, July 26, 2010

Missional Living

The women who have been involved in our bible study over the past year will identify with this article. But it covers an area we didn't spend a lot of time on and that is sacrifice involved in missional ministry. This article brings up a common barrier. We want to do ministry in our community, but we want it to be convenient. We often lack believers who are willing to take on the full measure and responsibility of building a ministry out of the church. This is often seen as something the paid staff should champion and then we'll sign up for our turn to work. And while the paid staff do have ministry responsibilities, it doesn't make sense that all believers wouldn't/couldn't/shouldn't be equally involved in nurturing and growing ministry. You can read the full article here:

Monday, July 12, 2010


My daughter loves to watch the movie Cars where a little race car learns the lesson that people are more important than fame and that sometimes you must slow down to enjoy the good things in life. The first word spoken in the movie is, "Speed."

I'm reading a book now called "In Praise of Slowness." It isn't necessarily a Christian book but it does offer many ideas that appeal to the life of a Christian. The author is french, I believe. He says he got the idea for this book when he was waiting for a bus. He is the father of a toddler and writes that he was locked in the nightly tug-of-war over the reading of bedtime stories. His son wanted stories read at a meandering pace with attention to detail. Honore' (the author) would try to stear his son towards the shortest books and read them at a lightening pace in order to get this process finished up so he could return to email and other pressing things on his agenda.

Honore' was delighted to run across an article while waiting for the bus advertising a book called, "The One Minute Bedtime Story." A collection of traditional themes condensed to a 60 second format seemed like the perfect solution. He was about to hit the purchase button on Amazon when he says revelation hit, "Am I completely insane?"

It is this kind of reality that I'm beginning to find in my own life. My days have begun to resemble choreographed sets where if even one event or task is off by 5 minutes the entire schedule must be adjusted. Multiple changes of clothes must be packed in the car in the morning to accomodate the days events without a "wasted" trip home. Lunch hours are not spent as a break but as an opportunity to get one more thing done. Honore' sums it up well in his book when he describes:

"Tempted and titillated at every turn, we seek to cram in as much consumption and as many experiences as possible. As well as glittering careers, we want to take art courses, work out at the gym, read the newspaper and every book on the bestseller list, eat out with friends, go clubbing, play sports, watch hours of television, listen to music, spend time with the family, buy all the newest fashions and gadgets, go to the cinema, enjoy intimacy and great sex with our partners, holiday in far-flung locations and maybe even do some meaningful volunteer work. The result is a gnawing disconnect between what we want from life and what we can realistically have, which feeds the sense that there is never enough time."

Wow! That pretty much sums it up for me. And probably a lot of people I know. I could even take out some things like vacations, clubbing, sports, cinema and television and still feel like there isn't enough time. Speed is becoming an adiction for our society I think. I'll admit I've had a euphoric feeling of victory when I've conquered a hellish weekend full of activities that would make most cry without dropping the ball. There is a feeling of accomplishment, but at what cost?

At this break-neck speed what is being left behind? I'm not lazy. I'm not tired or burned-out. I'm not complaining about all the wonderful opportunities I have in my life. But I might be crazy. I might be deluding myself that just because I can do all things before me that I really should. Or that it really is a good thing for me or the ones I'm serving.

I guess what I'm looking at is quality. Or as Jesus would put it, fruit. John 15:16 says, "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last." The fruit of a half-listening, over-stimulated, under-rested, overbooked, clock-watching Christian is probably not what He had in mind when He said, "fruit that will last." So how do we know what to do and what to leave? Seek God. Read Jesus' words. Pray to the Holy Spirit for direction. Wait. He will show us where the fruit needs to grow and He will cut out the things that bear no fruit.

My prayer lately has been, "Lord, shine a light in me. Find my dark places. Those things that I want that mean nothing to you." He will do this. He will show us the branches that bear no fruit. What freedom comes in the cutting off of dead wood! How much more room there is in our little clay pot (2 Corinth 4:7) for the filling of the Spirit when the dead fruit is removed.

I'll quit with one last thought from Honore's book, if you think you don't have enough hours in the day, check this out
More info on Slowness at Honore's website