Monday, May 26, 2014

tackling patriarchs & cooking breakfast

 Launching something.

Vision.  Structure.  Team.  Stakeholders.  Finance.  Governance.  Promotion.  Website.  Events.  There's a lot to think about when you're launching something.  For me, over the last few months, it's been a new organisation ... and it's only now as I look back (and into the echoing cavern of the path before us) that I'm beginning to appreciate the magnitude of launching something.

This Saturday I'll be in Rotorua, NZ - presenting a talk around this topic - notsomuch as a lesson on how to launch something, but as a question:
"When you consider the lengths we go to in launching something, what can we notice about God's priorities in starting something new?"

There's much to learn from two signficant launch events in the story of God - that of Israel, and that of the church.  In one we see God throwing himself headlong into a scrap with Jacob, and the other we see Him serving breakfast to some of his closest friends - including Peter.  Both are about bringing change to the heart of a leader - one who needs breaking (Genesis 32), and another who needs restoring (John 21).
Whether He's tackling patriarchs or cooking breakfast - God's heart is to shape His people for His story.  In fact, He knows that His story will be told, not through the program called "Israel" or "the church", but through the transformation of His people who happen to be known as "Israel" or "the church".

Friday, May 9, 2014

a new logo
A NEW LOGO.  It's had me thinking.  

One of the texts I've been using for my youth ministry class is Andrew Root's "Taking the Cross to Youth Ministry", and he says some challenging things about how we treat the cross as a logo:
"Youth Ministry is littered with images of the cross - on T-shirts, book bags, bracelets, and boxer shorts.  The symbol of the cross is everywhere, and it has lost its shock value."
I agree.  Somehow our consumptive default cheapens the "very revelation of God's nature" into a logo we brandish, a product we consume, a brand we identify with ... but the cross was something very different to the first-century Jesus-follower:
"They knew the cross as an instrument of violence, torture, and execution. ... The cross was a very real and graphic reminder that God takes on the foolishness of suffering and death, that God acts by being weak."
What would it look like to see a generation re-capture this?  Where following Jesus shifts us from wearing a cross, or walking through the doors of a building that displays a cross ... to seeing the cross as:
"... the doorway into a new reality - an altogether new way of seeing self, world, and God - for the cross is the fulness of God's action."
As I reflect on this, my preparation for our new week-long experience in July makes me hope for something...  

Yes, I hope that people are able to explore the Bible in a way they've never known before.

Yes, I certainly hope for transformation in communities that can only come from the story and activity of God.

But I also hope for a generation who will recapture God's heart to see His "cross activity" multiplied with unstoppable momentum, where:
  • we discover that our imperfections are the means through which His perfect love can be made known; and
  • we decide that our suffering can be the conduit through which His victory is revealed; and,
  • we determine that our weaknesses will be the most powerful mechanism for His strength to be displayed.
The cross is more than a new logo that identifies us, it is an event that births a new identity - one that multiplies itself in ongoing "cross activity" ... I see an emerging generation who are getting this - God's people on the VERGE of something new.