Thursday, February 22, 2018

rethinking mission


Over the last decade I've been struck by the content of Jesus' mission statement.

Captives set free.  Blind see.  Oppressed liberated.  Jubilee now.

There's no doubt His work culminated in the cross and resurrection - but what about all those free, wide-eyed, liberated, Jubilee revellers that spun around Jesus while He walked the earth?

I can't help but think about the people who's lives were transformed.

Jesus' mission had a manner that poured the blessing of God into people's lives.

His manner was His message.

We forget that.  We reduce making disciples to the conquest of 'getting someone across the line' - have we given no thought to the performance oriented environments we create?

Followers of Jesus are formed through the love they experience, not won through the cleverness of our rhetoric.

Luke 4:16-22

rethinking membership


When I read Paul's writings, he used the word 'member' in a very different way to what we do.

Membership, for us, is all about entitlement.  I pay a fee, I carry a card, I get access.  I'm entitled to be a part of this community.

Paul used "member" in the context of a body metaphor.  The member of a body is an extension of that body - it assumes belonging and participation as a part of that body.

I belong to a community, and I participate in a community as an extension of that community.

Not as my transaction for entitlement.

1 Corinthians 12:7-31

being a preparer


Being a preparer is hard.  There's little to show for the investment being made.  The branding is not memorable. The numbers are unimpressive.

Today I've wrestled with feelings of discouragement.

Yesterday I received an invitation to like the social media page of a new church plant.

I don't think it's new, and I actually don't think it's a planting of the church.

Most "new church plants" that I see feel more like a re-brand, or a franchise of a worship service product.

I long for the emergence of a fresh disciple-making movement - one that flourishes into the planting of the church. Where Christian community sprouts up in the midst of those who know little or nothing of who Jesus is.

There are some examples where I see this - in school communities, sporting clubs, drop in centres among the disadvantaged - but they don't usually call themselves a "new church plant".

I'm convinced we live at a point in history where the priority of leaders needs to be about preparing the next generation of pioneers - and not cutting and pasting existing worship gatherings and calling it 'church planting'.  This approach might reinvigorate, or revitalise the existing church - perhaps 'transplanting' Christians into suped-up soil - but I'm just not convinced about calling it church planting.

Being a preparer is hard.  There's little to show for the investment being made.  The branding is not memorable. The numbers are unimpressive.

But I get the sense that the next generation will be grateful for the depth of the soil tilled by today's preparers.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

planting goodness


What does it look like for me to be the planting of goodness today?

I've been trying to read a Psalm and a New Testament chapter each day since I begun the year.  (In truth this means it's happened about 3 times a week!)

Then I choose a short portion from each, write down both, and ask God what He might be saying.

Today was Psalm 85 and 1 Corinthians 13.

"Yes, the Eternal will plant goodness in the earth,
    and our land will yield great abundance." - Ps 85:12

"Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; 
it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what." - 1  Cor 13:7

And I've been wondering.

When the Israelites trusted for God's intervention in the yield of their agriculture - did they have the goodness of creation in mind?  Did they expect that God was intent on bringing wholeness into the deadness of their soil?

When Paul unpacked the stubborn nature of love, did he have his personal feelings toward the Corinthians (and their wretched behaviour) in mind?  Was he preaching to himself as he dictated the words?  Was he reflecting on the love of Messiah in his own life?  Was he mindful of the stubborn love of God in his own story?

Is God figuratively (or literally) planting goodness back into His creation every time He exercises love?

Am I, as a receiver and conduit of this love, the planting of goodness in His creation?

What does it look like for me - as I receive and distribute God's love - to be the planting of goodness today?

Friday, December 8, 2017

Trav's Day

Just playing with some creativity here - but though it was worth posting ... also, there's some great thoughts on creativity from Richard about halfway through!

 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Love isn't Love


I've said "I love you" so many times to my wife.

Mainly because I just do.

I think she's amazing.

I choose her everyday.

I can't help but join her in celebrating.

I can't help but grieve with her in loss.

BUT.

Sometime I say "I love you" to divert her attention away from my failures.

Sometimes I say "I love you" so I can get what I want.

That's when love isn't love - when it isn't coming out of a place of truth.

And it seems to me that truth cannot be solely found in what I'm feeling at the time.

Love is Love


"I'm just feeling so grieved"

The man stood in our shop and beleaguered the point of his sadness over the YES vote winning this week.

He was too loud, too conservative and too bigoted for my liking.

But there was no doubting his sadness.

Here he is, a man in his 60s, shaped by a worldview that upholds the sanctity of marriage as the cornerstone for a functioning society.

Even though society had long disregarded his own perspective, at least the law still upheld the traditional Christian practice of a heterosexual monogamous union.

Not anymore.

And he was deeply grieved.

If love is love, and the expectation is to accept people no matter what their story or preferences, then what does love look like for the loud conservative bigot?