Thursday, January 29, 2009

missional values

Doug Tensen is my supervisor at work. He recently asked me to think about writing out some goals for 2009. Instead of a list of actual goal statements, I turned in a page that was divided into three parts....VALUES.....PRACTICES....AREAS OF FOCUS.

Today, I'll share what are high missional values for me:

1. Service. Serving Christ in gratitude and serving others in love, joy, and hospitality.
2. Learning. On-going training and education about transformational development, urban challenges. Learning from people in the community. Evaluating frequently any processes we’re a part of. Continued learning from Scripture about God’s heart for justice. Continued learning about Jesus and what it means to follow him in order to better represent and reflect him.
3. Relationships. Building relationships and practicing presence.
4. Discernment. Individually and in community: praying and listening and discerning the work of God and the will of God.
5. Development. Next steps, strategic moves that help foster transformational development of self, others at OHC, and the community to which God is calling us.

Do we share common values? What are some of your core missional values as you go about reaching out? Would love to read some of your's been kinda sleepy on this blog. :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Yet again

God has a way of making sure He gets a message through to me. I had written in the last post about Him giving me Isaiah 30:15 this past week. Well, yesterday, I was at a Bible Study that was about joy-stealers (works of flesh, legalism, complication/complexity, reasoning, anger, and jealousy/covetousness). When the speaker got to "reasoning", she asked the question, "Do any of you ever try to figure everything out?" She went on to say that pondering something and being prayerful about it is one thing, but if we've crossed the line and start to feel confused, then we've left pondering and moved into worrying, frustration, and lack of trust.

These were good words for me to add to my Isaiah 30:15 assignment. I do try to figure things out and get frustrated if I can't. I often feel like I'm missing something, and that it is my fault that there's confusion and not clarity. Oh, how I love to play God! Good grief. This is a lesson God has to teach me yet again.

Trusting God. I don't need to figure things out. I need to trust in the one who creates and commands everything in His perfectly destined plan.

1 Corinthians 2:2...."For I have resolved to know nothing except Jesus Christ."

John 15: 5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." - Jesus

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

unexpected answer

God has Isaiah 30:15 on my heart lately. "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it."

Last week I found myself frustrated and fitful. I was disappointed with myself, frustrated at God, questioning the move of the Spirit and the workings of the institutional church, and wanting God to do big work much faster than he's doing. I was begging him for answers and for a breakthrough, and what did he give me? Isaiah 30:15.

Strong and important words from God for me. Has God had a word for you recently?

From Servant to Friend

We have a friend named Michelle living with us currently. She awaits sentencing on some charges of forgery, and spent some time this winter in the Black Hawk County Jail and at Pathways Drug Treatment. Last night, as I lay in bed with my daughter, Sara, to review the day and pray, she said, "Mom, if you didn't know Michelle had been in jail, you'd just think she's a friend and fun to be around." My daughter, through her experience of knowing Michelle, is going through the inner journey of challenging the culture's message that gets embedded in each of us....that people who go to jail are "bad people".

"Relationships are the critical factor for change." This is so true. I am grateful for Michelle..that we are growing in our relationship....learning from one another....accepting "coaching tips" from one another in the areas of our strengths, and appreciating one another's God-given personalities. In short, we're being blessed with friendship.

This is a powerful quote from Robert Lupton in his book Compassion, Justice, and the Christian Life:

“Perhaps beyond the revolutionary Christian mandate of service is the final revolution, the possibility of being friends. Friends are people who know each other, who care, respect, struggle, and are committed through time. Why friends rather than servants? Perhaps it is because Jesus knew that servants could always become lords but that friends could not. Professional servants may operate on assumption that ‘you will be better because I know better,’ but friends believe that ‘we will be better because we share in each others’ lives.’ Servants are people who know the mysteries that can control those to whom they give ‘help’. Friends, on the other hand, are free to give and receive help from each other."

"I no longer call you servants...instead, I have called you friends." - Jesus (John 15:15)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Latest with Molly

News from Australia. Molly Hagen is in Perth learning about health care for third world countries. She'll go back to Cambodia after her 6 months of class.

Class! We have started really getting in to Healthcare this week with a lovely teacher who is working in Bali, Indonesia, but she spent one year in Thailand working at an orphanage, so we had lots to talk about. We learned all about weighing babies, checking for malnutrition, nutrition in 3rd world countries, how to get people, especially children to eat the neccessary things. We also did a small bit on wound care, which is good to understand more about burns, cuts, broken bones. As this week's lectures went on, the wheels in my head went spining in a million directions thinking about how this would all work out in Cambodia. Where in the villages and neighborhoods could we get baby weighing stations, how we can educate moms and dads on essential things! After this week I feel I know many key things that will help children be healthy and grow in to healthy adults!

Prayer. As I continue with this training my desire is to get as much information as I can to serve people more in Cambodia. Please pray for God's heart for the poor and the suffering would continue to grow in me. That I would be able to pass on what I've seen to people and get others excited being committed to the nations. I also feel like God is saying this time in Australia is an important time of intamacy with God. I don't have many responsibilities here (which is hard sometimes) But I want to use this time to really love God and know more about him, to be filled with His heart and his power. Thanks for praying.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The spirit of recovery

I have a friend in recovery from a drug addiction. Over the past few years, I have come to learn about and love the process of recovery. I have come to better understand how each and every one of us is in recovery...that God is at work to recover us to our true identities in Him. Here's a recovery prayer that I especially like to pray.

God, I offer myself to you to build with me and do with me as you will. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do your will. Take away my difficulties that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of your power, your love, and your way of life. May I do your will always!

Strategic Thinking

A quote from one of my leadership manuals: "Strategic thinking starts with reflection on the deepest nature of an undertaking and the central challenges it poses. Strategic thinking develops with understanding of focus and understanding of timing."

I know that this has been true for me as I think about missions in our community. For some time now, God has been causing me to reflect on the deepest nature of the undertaking. I used to think Christian Community Development meant “Christians developing the Cedar Valley”. I thought the word “community” meant location in the phrase. The more that I’ve spent time entering in and learning, the more I recognize it’s about God developing “Christian community”, as in friendship and life together in Christ. And the more that Christian community is deepened and developed, the more God changes the worldview and values of those involved in that community into His worldview and Kingdom values. It is difficult to fall in love with our brothers and sisters who might be suffering, oppressed, and under-resourced, and not be moved to more passionately join God in his pursuit of restoration and justice. It is in my relationship with God and others different than me, that I am challenged to confront what I give allegiance to in my life…admittedly things that often are in direct opposition to reconciliation or justice. Truly, when Christian community begins to develop (as in relationships), God begins to transform whole communities (as in locations). For me, God has been trying to help me unlearn “us/them” and move me toward a theology of “we”. This has been the deepest nature work, the alternate vision of His reality that He is trying to help me “get” ever so slowly but surely.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Inauguration Thoughts

Derek Sallis is a friend and vice-president at SHOUT Ministries. Here are some thoughts he'd like to share.

Tuesday, January 20th, symbolizes a new era and a new beginning for this country. Regardless of what people’s opinions are, the United States is the greatest and most powerful country in the world today. Yet the cost to obtain that position of power and opportunity has not come without sacrifices. While we can say respectfully that the price has been paid in full by our Forefathers, our soldiers who have fought and died for this soil, and our ancestors who contributed to developing this nation, there is much that is not discussed that is mental anguish for millions in this country.
For the Black and African-American community equal rights had never been completely obtained, it is always a process that is under construction. This is true for minorities in general today. Slaves were the driving economic source in helping to build this country. After hundreds of years of free labor, broken families, mental anguish, and generational curses of ignorance, slavery was abolished. Promised reparations would never be seen. Being free was good enough for the blacks, but at the cost of being treated as second-class citizens. Whether it was treating nonwhites blatantly or indirectly as being inferior, the mental agony would continue. Civil Rights soon emerged to give primarily Blacks and African-Americans the same rights as the Caucasian human beings in the US. The costs would be heavy as progress would be made, but not without the result of death for the major leaders and contributors of a Civil Rights Movement. In the recent years this country has come to a point where it believes equal rights are being obtained. Yet the mental despair has not been lifted from the broken communities who’s ancestors worked, fought, and died to make a better country and world for their children and children’s children. Nor has the manipulative spirits in the economical, political, and social realm been lifted.
Change has always been desired, it has always been needed and it has always been discussed. When change is talked about however, people can lose power. Discussion of what is to be considered “right/good change” must be measured. Advantages and disadvantages must be calculated. These factors coming into play make change a slow process if it is to occur.
If you are a minister, how can you know what the people need if you are not seeing what goes on in their community? How can you feel the hurt and pain of the people if you only come to their environment for a visit in your new car, coming from your nice house in the suburbs or country? Then go right back to your comfortable environment when you see the kitchen is starting to get hot? What can you do if everyone around you is informing you on what the majority needs are of the people, and not putting the minority needs of the people on an equal scale for necessity? If you are going to help a people, you have to feel their burdens and have experienced their trials and tribulations in some way shape or form. Otherwise you are not really ministering.
Biblically speaking, Moses was a Hebrew, a chosen people. He was raised in the presence of Pharaoh yet watched how hard his people had to work and slave. Watching this for years was so maddening that it led Moses to commit murder against an Egyptian. That murder led Pharaoh to try and kill Moses. Even though Moses was raised as a grandson to Pharaoh, and Hebrew’s were being killed by exhaustion and oppression from the Egyptians, his murder of a real Egyptian citizen was subject to death. Moses fled Egypt but was still recognized as an Egyptian in the foreign land of Midian. Over the years all the leaders of Egypt that once wanted him dead, died. That is when the Lord called Moses to let his people go free.
Obeying this command, Moses went back to Egypt to tell Pharaoh to let his people go. Pharaoh not only refused he made their work more difficult, suggesting that he was already being courteous to them but now feels they have become lazy. This led the Hebrew leaders to become hostile with Moses for making Pharaoh do this. It was then that Moses turned to the Lord and protested in the people’s defense. The Lord responded by having to remind Moses who He was, and let Moses know that he himself is special amongst his ancestors. He went on to say, “I am the LORD. I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment. I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am LORD your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt” (Exodus 6:6-7). It was there that Moses went on to carry out the Lords 7 miracles that led Pharaoh to free his people. The people were delivered from captivity even though Pharaoh showed great defiance and had hardened his heart against the people and the Lords call (See Exodus chapters 1-14).
There are many ways that you can be a slave. You can be captive by having your freedom taken, have mental slavery that is a result of generational curses, or not know Jesus and be a slave to sin as Paul puts it (see Romans 6:1-23).
I heard a wise man say, “nothing is new in history, everything has happened before but is presented in a different way.” Everything we think is new, it’s been here before but in a different way, shape, or form. I could be drawing a modern-day comparison to Moses with Obama. Today we know that God’s people were set free, so let’s not forget what happened in the wilderness after they left the land of Egypt. The people were uncomfortable, impatient, discontent, and complaining of the conditions in which they were now living as a free people. This led them to sin and angered the Lord mightily. Moses was not the man to deliver the people to their promised land, Their own sinful nature led the Lord to make them wonder the wilderness for 40 years. All but two of the original Hebrew slaves who were delivered from captivity, died and never saw that land of milk and honey. It was Moses’ assistant and successor, Joshua who took them there. The Lord came to Joshua when Moses died and said, “Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. I promise you what I promised Moses: Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you.” (Joshua 1: 2-3)
It was Joshua who continued to lead the people to the promise land. Obama could be a modern-day Moses. If so, it’s scary thinking about the wilderness that is lying right around the corner for us. Yet maybe the modern-day Moses has already come to deliver his people. Maybe the people have just been wondering for a modern-day 40 years and a modern-day Joshua has been chosen to lead.
These historical events are milestones for us in this day and age, and the world has seen milestones set before. The election of President Obama is not the answer to the injustice and problems that are persisting in this country, but his election is a step in a positive direction. That direction just happens to send a thunderous message of possibility to everyone in the United States and the entire world. Minorities now have a voice that can be heard better then ever before. What are minorities going to do with their voice and their opportunities? What is the rest of the world going to do in response? How can real unity begin to take place? Can it ever take place? It all revolves around the Truth, but everyone has to look for the Truth and must be willing to accept it. That is something we haven’t been able to do. If history does repeat itself, let us not make the same mistakes that have been made in the past.

Derek A. Sallis

Freedom's Plow

Ellaysa Newton is a friend and member of SHOUT Ministries, and an active disciple at Gift of Life Church.

I am a writer by nature and I was going to write a poem because often times that is how God communicates to me, or how I communicate to others. However, if you could post this poem by Langston Hughes, I would really appreciate it. It is timeless and it speaks to a lot of the things that are in my heart right now.
In Christ's love,
Ellaysa Newton

Freedom's Plow
When a man starts out with nothing, When a man starts out with his hands Empty, but clean, When a man starts to build a world, He starts first with himself And the faith that is in his heart- The strength there, The will there to build. First in the heart is the dream- Then the mind starts seeking a way. His eyes look out on the world, On the great wooded world, On the rich soil of the world, On the rivers of the world. The eyes see there materials for building, See the difficulties, too, and the obstacles. The mind seeks a way to overcome these obstacles. The hand seeks tools to cut the wood, To till the soil, and harness the power of the waters. Then the hand seeks other hands to help, A community of hands to help- Thus the dream becomes not one manʼs dream alone, But a community dream. Not my dream alone, but our dream. Not my world alone, But your world and my world, Belonging to all the hands who build. A long time ago, but not too long ago, Ships came from across the sea Bringing the Pilgrims and prayer-makers, Adventurers and booty seekers, Free men and indentured servants, Slave men and slave masters, all new- To a new world, America! With billowing sails the galleons came Bringing men and dreams, women and dreams. In little bands together, Heart reaching out to heart, Hand reaching out to hand, They began to build our land. Some were free hands Seeking a greater freedom, Some were indentured hands Hoping to find their freedom, Some were slave hands Guarding in their hearts the seed of freedom, But the word was there always: Freedom. Down into the earth went the plow In the free hands and the slave hands, In indentured hands and adventurous hands, Turning the rich soil went the plow in many hands That planted and harvested the food that fed And the cotton that clothed America. Clang against the trees went the ax into many hands That hewed and shaped the rooftops of America. Splash into the rivers and the seas went the boat-hulls That moved and transported America. Crack went the whips that drove the horses Across the plains of America. Free hands and slave hands, Indentured hands, adventurous hands, White hands and black hands Held the plow handles, Ax handles, hammer handles, Launched the boats and whipped the horses That fed and housed and moved America. Thus together through labor, All these hands made America. Labor! Out of labor came villages And the towns that grew cities. Labor! Out of labor came the rowboats And the sailboats and the steamboats, Came the wagons, and the coaches, Covered wagons, stage coaches, Out of labor came the factories, Came the foundries, came the railroads. Came the marts and markets, shops and stores, Came the mighty products moulded, manufactured, Sold in shops, piled in warehouses, Shipped the wide world over: Out of labor-white hands and black hands- Came the dream, the strength, the will, And the way to build America. Now it is Me here, and You there. Now itʼs Manhattan, Chicago, Seattle, New Orleans, Boston and El Paso- Now itʼs the U.S.A. A long time ago, but not too long ago, a man said: ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL-- ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR WITH CERTAIN UNALIENABLE RIGHTS-- AMONG THESE LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. His name was Jefferson. There were slaves then, But in their hearts the slaves believed him, too, And silently too for granted That what he said was also meant for them. It was a long time ago, But not so long ago at that, Lincoln said: NO MAN IS GOOD ENOUGH TO GOVERN ANOTHER MAN WITHOUT THAT OTHERʼS CONSENT. There were slaves then, too, But in their hearts the slaves knew What he said must be meant for every human being- Else it had no meaning for anyone. Then a man said: BETTER TO DIE FREE THAN TO LIVE SLAVES He was a colored man who had been a slave But had run away to freedom. And the slaves knew What Frederick Douglass said was true. With John Brown at Harperʼs Ferry, Negroes died. John Brown was hung. Before the Civil War, days were dark, And nobody knew for sure When freedom would triumph "Or if it would," thought some. But others new it had to triumph. In those dark days of slavery, Guarding in their hearts the seed of freedom, The slaves made up a song: Keep Your Hand On The Plow! Hold On! That song meant just what it said: Hold On! Freedom will come! Keep Your Hand On The Plow! Hold On! Out of war it came, bloody and terrible! But it came! Some there were, as always, Who doubted that the war would end right, That the slaves would be free, Or that the union would stand, But now we know how it all came out. Out of the darkest days for people and a nation, We know now how it came out. There was light when the battle clouds rolled away. There was a great wooded land, And men united as a nation. America is a dream. The poet says it was promises. The people say it is promises-that will come true. The people do not always say things out loud, Nor write them down on paper. The people often hold Great thoughts in their deepest hearts And sometimes only blunderingly express them, Haltingly and stumblingly say them, And faultily put them into practice. The people do not always understand each other. But there is, somewhere there, Always the trying to understand, And the trying to say, "You are a man. Together we are building our land." America! Land created in common, Dream nourished in common, Keep your hand on the plow! Hold on! If the house is not yet finished, Donʼt be discouraged, builder! If the fight is not yet won, Donʼt be weary, soldier! The plan and the pattern is here, Woven from the beginning Into the warp and woof of America: ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL. NO MAN IS GOOD ENOUGH TO GOVERN ANOTHER MAN WITHOUT HIS CONSENT. BETTER DIE FREE, THAN TO LIVE SLAVES. Who said those things? Americans! Who owns those words? America! Who is America? You, me! We are America! To the enemy who would conquer us from without, We say, NO! To the enemy who would divide And conquer us from within, We say, NO! FREEDOM! BROTHERHOOD! DEMOCRACY! To all the enemies of these great words: We say, NO! A long time ago, An enslaved people heading toward freedom Made up a song: Keep Your Hand On The Plow! Hold On! The plow plowed a new furrow Across the field of history. Into that furrow the freedom seed was dropped. From that seed a tree grew, is growing, will ever grow. That tree is for everybody, For all America, for all the world. May its branches spread and shelter grow Until all races and all peoples know its shade. KEEP YOUR HAND ON THE PLOW! HOLD ON!
Langston Hughes

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

For Such a Time as This

This post is from Chassidi Ferguson, a friend and leader of SHOUT Ministries in Waterloo. I've asked for some friends in SHOUT to share reflections from their African-American perspective about this historic week. Here are Chassidi's thoughts.

Grateful, Humbled, and Ready!

Here we sit on the eve of Barack Obama’s election as the first Black President. Word’s do little justice to what I feel. Grateful. Humbled. Ready.

I have to admit, when I watched the Election Day coverage on November 4th and Obama was officially the winner I felt a certain sense of ownership to his victory. After all, I did knock on countless doors getting people registered to vote. I volunteered to make many phone calls urging people to vote for him. The sense of accomplishment and victory that I feel must pale in comparison to the many generations before me; the ones who marched on Washington, whose hearts were stirred by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - People like My Great Aunt Anna Mae Weems, Jimmy Porter and other local legends who helped pave the way. In the midst of the excitement I feel in this momentous occasion, it is tempered with an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

As a Christian, this victory epitomizes what I believe. It is such an awesome example of what years of putting your hands to the struggle, prayer, and perseverance can result in. This victory is not just a result of two years of clever campaigning and a brief movement of a nation. Rather, this victory is a result of our ancestors and their desire of a better reality for the generations that would follow them. Christianity is deeply embedded within the black community. It was years of prayer, sacrifice, partnering with conscious white neighbors, and standing on the promises of God that allowed us to survive and overcome.

I’m also humbled that God would choose me to be alive in this exciting yet challenging time. I hear a clarion call to ready ourselves for the tasks ahead. Our hope must not be in this new President, but in the God who appointed him. We must pause to celebrate this great victory, and then move forward in each of our respective roles to bring glory to God in the way we live our lives each day.

I’m reminded of the scripture that says, “We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.” Let us be encouraged by the testimony of Barack Obama; a story that teaches us that all things are truly possible. Let us also remember that we overcome because Christ overcame the world. As we proudly wave the star spangled banner in this time of heightened patriotism, we must always wave the blood stained banner of Christ. For Victory is ours only through His grace.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

why fast?

Here are some benefits from fasting that I have found to be true for me-

1. Fasting is an essential means of pulling away from the world and getting closer to God.
2. Fasting allows me to filter my life and to set myself apart to seek the Lord.
3. In our journey of sanctification, fasting helps me examine my motives, attitudes, desires, spirit, flesh.
4. God assigns us to fast and pray. It has always been a normal part of a relationship with God.
5. My inner self slows down and I am more sensitive to the things of God...more tuned in.
6. Fasting has helped me re-evaluate my life, identify with the poor, worship God, identify and break bad habits and addictions, grow closer to God, learn better self-control, purify body and soul, and repent of sin.
7. Fasting research talks about it being a spring cleaning for the body, and I've found that to be true. Flushes out toxins built up from all the junk that goes in. In juice fasting, there's a real "sweet spot" of energy and clarity after the digestive system shuts down three days into a fast. Helps to regenerate and heal the body. Sharpens senses and mental processes.
8. I open myself up to God better in fasting and am more focused on Him and more expectant of the Spirit's inworking and outworking in my life.
9. Fasting and praying helps me to do battle with the evil one.
10. Fasting has been a way to renewal. The discipline breaks me out of the routine of the world and helps me to offer my whole self to God. It reminds me of my dependency on God and causes the roots of my relationship with Jesus to go deeper.

A website that I frequented a lot in early days of fasting is

Would you care to share how God has worked through fasting and praying in your life?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Being Available

We have an apartment on our property. Since June, it's been inhabited by Ed and Pat, family friends who suffered the loss of their home in the June floods. Ed and Pat fixed the apartment up really cozy and have been wonderful neighbors to have near us. They left last week to visit their daughter and family in Alabama for a few months.

This morning, Mike went out to the workshop attached to the apartment to get our truck so that we could drive into church with the pick-up today. We never made it to church. Upon entering the workshop, he saw a fountain of water spraying with fury...a broken water pipe. We have no idea how long it had been spraying but evidently long enough to soak the apartment...water all over the floors, running down the walls, into light fixtures, you get the picture. We got the water turned off and began the work of emptying out the apartment into our garage and house. After a few hours of work, I called my brother, Tracy, to see if he was available to come help for awhile.

One thing about my brother, Tracy, and his wife, Joan, is that they are available people. My folks are too. They are the kind of people who come to the aid of others at the very first hint of need, and they're the last to leave...checking to make sure everything is covered and cared for before checking out. Do you know people like that? No matter how busy their lives may be, you never know it, because they prioritize being good neighbors to people in the arrangement of their lives. They're a beautiful witness of good neighboring.

We're involved in a series at our church called "The Jesus Creed". It's a 40 day journey of better loving God and loving our neighbor. My prayer today as I worked alongside Mike, Nathan, Sara, my brother Tracy, and our friend, Michelle, was to ask God to help me always be an available, approachable person. That my life will never be so unavailable due to busy-ness that family and friends pass over my name in their minds as they consider who might be available and gladly willing to lend a hand in a time of need.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

words, words, words

I love words. My husband would say I love words exceedingly much. :) I especially love a good written word...I love how some authors can communicate masterfully and how some words help articulate a thought or an experience that we've had trouble describing or making clear.

I am quickly inspired by a good written word, and I keep a whole notebook full of quotes that I cut out or copy from a whole variety of sources. I'll share quotes from time to time just in case you are inspired by them as well. And maybe you'd like to add some of your favorites, too.

Here's a couple that I like from a book called The Present Future by Reggie McNeal.

"The Bible is the story of God's determination to woo human beings with his heart so he can transform them with his love and partner with them in his redemptive mission in the world."

"Evangelism that will introduce Jesus to this culture will flow from people who are deeply in love with Jesus."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

How to comment

I've had a few people ask how to make a comment to a post. Go up to the righthand corner of the page and click on "sign in". If you already have a google account, you just need to sign in, but if you don't, you'll have to provide a username and password to establish a google account.. that will allow you to write comments. Hope that helps!

With Justice for All

The SHOUT Ministries' board ( , of which I am a part, is reading together the book With Justice for All written by John Perkins, founder of Christian Community Development Association ( There's been no person in my experience that has helped lead me on a journey of racial reconciliation and the transformation of communities more than John Perkins.

"The poor of America today are at the mercy of politicians' whims and philanthropists' charity. Neither politicians nor philanthropists can offer people what they need the most- the incarnate love of Christ. Unless the Church fulfills its responsibility to proclaim by word and deed the "Good news to the poor," the poor have no true hope. We, the Church, bear the only true gospel of hope. Only through us can the power of Christ's love save and deliver them." -J.P.

What have you been learning about incarnating the love of Christ amongst the poor?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Go fast and live

Fasting...we're not to speak of such a discipline in our lives, but I fear that sometimes the lack of speaking out about this spiritual practice has resulted in the lack of people knowing about or engaging in the discipline. So, I'm going to risk writing about this a bit in some posts over the next while, mostly because of how God has moved in my life through the practice of prayer and fasting over the past 8 years.

I'm currently spending the first 3 weeks of the new year on a "Daniel Fast"...( It's a partial fast...fruits, vegetables, whole grains only. I've fasted before without food (drinking juices only), but this is the first time of eating specific foods for a period of time. The first 7 days were not difficult after a holiday season of "feasting" ...but I've increasingly had to tune into Jesus to stay the course, and that's one of the benefits of fasting for helps me focus and diligently seek after God. I'll write more another day about fasting...but in the meantime, how about you...what practices help you tune into Jesus?

Friday, January 9, 2009

A note from Molly

Molly is a friend who's been serving with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) in Cambodia. She's currently in Perth, Australia, taking some medical and health classes to further equip her in the field. Today, she sent this to post:

God is in the business of sending. Let me tell you, for 3 years I feel like I've been sent here and there and everywhere! Last week I talked to an eager group of young people in Australia who were about to embark on a trip to the Nation of Cambodia. These young people had been studying a lot about God's character for the last 3 months, as I tried my best to encourage and get them pumped up for the uncomfortable sleeping and strange foods, and the fact that God was sending them, so there MUST be something God wants them to do. Just last night we heard an update from these young people and yesterday they had run in to an elderly man who was blind and could not walk. What can you do for a man who is blind and cannot walk? We usually pray for them! I don't know all the details, but these young people who don't speak the same language as this man, start praying and he is healed! God completely heals him! He can see, he can walk. If God is telling you to go, then go, because he MUST have something for you to do. God wants to use us to heal, to help, and to see his Kingdom expanded in the Nations. That's my God!

We need each other

First of all, I've been debating whether to go for this blog or not. It's a commitment, you know? Time and thought. But, I decided I think it's important enough to continue along. That is, if you recognize that I won't probably post every single day, and if some of you will also be willing to share comments and learnings along your missional journey as well. And I'd love it if some of you would author some posts. Let me know and I'll get a post up for you or sign you on as a co-author.

That said, I went to hear Karen and John Zilen speak last night. They are missionaries who live in Carlisle, England, and their calling is to help provide counseling and spiritual direction for other missionaries throughout the world. They might travel to encourage an isolated woman ministering in a Muslim country. Or host a retreat to help people take a look at their family of origin and their understanding of God the Father. Or work with multi-cultural ministry teams to help them better communicate. The evening reminded me of how much we need each other! Regardless of where we're serving in the Body of Christ, we, missionaries all, can be inspired to encourage and edify our brothers and sisters in Christ. They shared this verse I'll sign off with:

"Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints." Philemon 1:7