Saturday, July 15, 2017

BLESS model

Orchard Hill Church organizes a week of camping every other year at fabulous campgrounds in the Midwest.  This year, about 130 individuals and families signed up to camp together at Baker Park Reserve just west of Plymouth, Minnesota.  What a stellar campground!  Excellent bathroom and shower facilities, well-groomed property, bike trails, sandy beaches, boat rentals, a golf course, a large playground for children, and more.  Just a beautiful lake and campground...and a day trip into the Twin Cities from there is very easy, too.   

I drove up mid-week with a friend and co-worker and her children, and we spent two nights enjoying the fun of camping...campfires, s'mores, hikes, card games, swimming, fishing, etc..., and the joy of the community of friends gathered for unhurried meals and conversation, for play, for devotion and worship.  In short, it was a terrific week for new and old friends to be in community in the great outdoors.  

The BLESS model was the theme visited during each morning's devotional time at Camp this past week.  It's a model that comes from Dave Ferguson and the Verge Network.  Basically, its premise is that God has blessed us to be a blessing to others.  The BLESS model describes a strategy for blessing people:  Begin with prayer.  Listen to people.  Eat together with people.  Serve people. Share your story/God's story with people.  When I am intentional about these actions, whether with my family or with anyone, I do find they often lead to a life-giving experience, a blessing in the midst of our days.  What I noticed this week while camping and paying attention to the BLESS model, is that each of the actions is one of mindfulness and one of time.  A slowing and an attentiveness is needed to enter into this space of blessing.  So often our phones and TVs, our frenetic schedules, our hyper pace run a distracting counter to the BLESS model....perhaps they are the CURSE model. :) Anyhow, being at Baker these past few days, and being able to eat together, listen together, share stories together, serve together, pray together, was a necessary reminder to me to make space and time for individuals and meals and conversations in my life.  

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Justice Conference 2017: Michael McBride

Listening and considering the thoughts and words from several speakers at the recent Justice Conference.  

Michael McBride, Director of Live Free found at 

"We can't say we love our neighbor if we don't create environments where our neighbors can thrive."

"I think part of the task of the church, particularly in this moment, if we are really trying to help people live into loving our neighbors both as a discipleship and disciple-making enterprise, is to help train our eyes and our heart to have a systemic and structural vision of how loving our neighbor happens so that we don't just devolve into radically interpersonal conversation about loving our neighbor."

"Systems are complex.  They've taken generations, centuries to put into place.  So, every generation has to identify their mission and fulfill it or betray it.  We have to own the calling to dismantle while we are alive the systems/structures that are being sustained or built on our watch.  We have to learn, we have to read, hear, and listen to the stories of those who are oppressed and marginalized.  We can't just operate from a position of power, privilege, and status and say everything is great."  

"We-the Church- are even now more called to make sure that no one is excluded in a vision of what it means to be human."