Thursday, March 19, 2015

bold thanksgiving

I'm pretty sure that Jesus' friends didn't see themselves as a catering service.

But there they were, wrestling with an outlandish measure of compassion - again.  The heart of God thrusts them into a scenario that dwarfs their own resource and capacity. And they let Him know.

"How much do we have left?"

Not, "how much do you think we need?" or, "Are you sure there's not a market nearby?".  He doesn't run a survey on the relentless deficit - He starts with what they have - what's in the asset column.

Once it's clear what is available to them, He goes public.  He shifts his attention from the 12 to the 4000 - instructs them to sit down, makes it obvious to the crowd how much he has, then He gives thanks for it.

Bold thanksgiving.

I don't know if Jesus knew how this vision of His would be resourced - but it seems pretty clear his first priority wasn't a needs-based assessment, or a fundraising strategy.  He asked what they had, drew attention to it, and then displayed observable and genuine thankfulness.

It's no small thing that the multiplication of the resource didn't take place until distribution started.

Everyone there knew that the only way this need could be met would be through God's provision.  Jesus had invited the entire hillside into faith.

In the context of being aligned with the heart of God I need to start with the asset column, throw myself into an unhindered thankfulness for what has been given, and step into 'distribution'.

It might be surprising what we're left with when everyone has been fed.

Mark 8:1-9

Monday, March 2, 2015

my leviathan


This is a fascinating intersection I'm learning to come to terms with, wrestle with, and sometimes [if I'm honest], just plain avoid.

After some years of initiating and observing genuine transformation through a story-formed approach to discipleship, I have become convinced that through AccessTheStory we have landed on a healthy PROCESS (our four rhythms).  This process is showing early signs of becoming a fruitful and transferable model for ministry practice - but in order for the process to be caught, it needs to be seen.

So, we have a PRODUCT (Verge).  This product provides an excellent experience of the process, but the very existence of a product has the potential to run counter to the original intent of passing on the process.  The likelihood of having the Verge experience consumed as another product on the Christian calendar without seeing ministry paradigms and practices change sends shivers down my spine - and yet, unless there is a product, the process cannot be experienced.

And for a product to be accessible, we need to build a PLATFORM.

There is no doubt that the best platform for growing something is relationship - life on life, face to face relationships.  And yet we also have the awesome tools of social media - twitter, Facebook, blogs - not to mention the prospect of speaking engagements and publishing ... and so the conflict of this intersection continues!

At what point do I become the antithesis of my original intent?  How can I hope to see the idol of consumerism unravelled in a generation if I yield to that idol by vying for the consumptive attention of that generation? 

Rather than concede, unplug my modern-day tools of mission, and find a hole in the ground to occupy - I'm thinking that what Mark Sayers has to say is really helpful:
"There is a line that can be unwittingly crossed today when it comes to understanding what it is to lead.  We can forget where our message begins and where we end.  We can forget that we are communicating the gospel and end up broadcasting ourselves." (p109 - Facing Leviathan)

My prayer is that when I hit publish on this post, it might be an expression of me knowing where the line is.