Lord, Grant Me These Three Wishes

God As Our Genie

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Living Life As Beautifully As We Can

A catchphrase we would often say in the 60’s was, “Hey man, we are living life as beautifully as we can.”

That saying has been running through my mind a lot lately. Seems like a sentiment we as Jesus followers should do our best to take up, not as we defined it in ’68, but as Jesus defines it.

Wonder what Jesus’ definition of “living life as beautifully as we can” would suggest?

 

A Typical vs. Missional Church Foundation

I was in my “nothing” box just mindlessly popping around the web when I ran across Adam’s blog, The Thin Place.

In 2005 he created and posted a couple of interesting visuals inspired while reading Dan Kimball’s book “Emerging Worship.” I found them interesting and clarifying. What do you think?

 

Missional foundation

 

Missional foundation

 

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APEST and Leading a Missional Community

I’ve been working with the elders of our faith community on their role, function and responsibilities. One of the many concepts we are exploring is the base leadership gifts described in Ephesians 4 and how this typology of leadership (APEST) functions and the bent each gifted person brings to the leadership group.

APEST

Mike Breen has been doing an interesting series of posts on Missional Community (pop over and read the seven posts he has done so far). Today he posts on how a person with one of the Ephesians 4 base gifts would tend to lead a Missional Community differently than other people with a different base gift. The post offers a good perspective on each gift and helps us understand why each should be represented on the leadership team.

Here’s what he posted:

Apostles Leading a Missional Community

Apostle led MCs will usually be highly attractional, orbiting around someone who has loads of charisma and ability to gather others. Frequently their groups grow the quickest. Their mode of multiplication is often to split down the middle as a result of the pressure of the speed of growth. A mature apostle should have the skills to manage such a maneuver, even though it can be fraught with pastoral landmines, as multiplying a MC can be difficult for some relationally.

Prophets Leading a Missional Community

Prophets will tend to focus on the mission, but not be quite so evangelistic. They often go for high visibility, since they desire an incarnational approach to presenting the Gospel. Generally this means that they and their groups are very radical, often with the highest demands placed upon members. If you know a group in a tough urban context where there is lots of talk and action about reclaiming the city by their very presence and engagement with the people out on the streets, then that is probably a group with strong prophetic leadership. Such groups can grow by multiplying, but often they will keep the core team and allow a new work to bud off into a new context.

Evangelists Leading a Missional Community

Almost certainly evangelists will love to go straight after the People of Peace in their chosen mission context. They will identify the gatekeepers to that place and stay with them. Often you see evangelists literally going out in pairs, finding some People of Peace, building relationships and through them reaching a whole neighborhood that was previously unreached. Eventually they will look to hand the group on and go into a new context or send out others in twos to do a similar work elsewhere.

Teachers Leading a Missional Community

Frequently you will see teachers go into an existing context where the witness for Christ is struggling or almost extinguished. They will give themselves to model how to live the Christian life, whether in worship, community or mission. Mature teachers will do this ever so humbly, so it won’t even feel like teaching much of the time. They will stay for a lengthy season, but many will eventually begin to look for a fresh context requiring their help and then hand on their group. They will send out new groups who will be characterized by having been thoroughly prepared with a clear model of how to do things.

Pastors Leading a Missional Community

Pastors long to bring community transformation, by establishing and then building on long-term relationships. They highly value the integrity of becoming fully embedded into their context. This means that while things are not as spectacular at first, they have a slower and longer burn approach to mission. We have noticed that often this model works especially well in the suburbs. As relationships are at the heart of everything they do, it can be more difficult for them to multiply, but they do find it easier to grow as a ‘bud’ or ‘shoot’ off a small group of people and perhaps to take what they are doing into a neighboring area (or even neighboring street!).

Thanks Mike.

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Behavioral Modification

This 2009 video called “the dreaded stairs” demonstrates how easy it often can be to modify our behavior — and fun.

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Missional Misunderstood

Ernest Goodman at Missions Misunderstood recently wrote:

There are too many ‘experts’ using the word ‘missional’ to refer to traditional missions or serving in the local elementary school. Without a radical shift in the basic understanding of what it means to be on mission, we’re just doing more of the same.

He’s right, but it is not just about orthopraxy. What is missed to often in the missional discussion is that it is not about what we do or how we do it, but about who we are. Missional is about a Jesus followers DNA. It is about a life where “the way of Jesus” informs and radically transforms our existence.

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Peace, Good Will Toward Men

Pease, Good Will Toward Men

A Tough Season for Believers

Good op-ed piece in the New York Times, “A Tough Season for Believers.” Here is the closing thought.

[B]elieving Christians are no longer what they once were — an overwhelming majority in a self-consciously Christian nation. The question is whether they can become a creative and attractive minority in a different sort of culture, where they’re competing not only with rival faiths but with a host of pseudo-Christian spiritualities, and where the idea of a single religious truth seems increasingly passé.

Or to put it another way, Christians need to find a way to thrive in a society that looks less and less like any sort of Christendom — and more and more like the diverse and complicated Roman Empire where their religion had its beginning, 2,000 years ago this week.

And Christianity did thrive under an intolerant Roman Empire. God doesn’t need a “Christian nation” or tolerant environment for his people to flourish. But we do need to be the people he calls and empowers us to be in the context we find ourselves.

Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives. (1 Peter 1:11-12, The Message)

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An Interview With Dr. Gordon Fee

This post about Dr. Gordon Fee (emeritus professor of New Testament at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia) is a bit of a departure from the norm and I promise not to make it a habit.

Dr. Fee’s latest work, Revelation, was published in October as part of the New Covenant Commentary series. I’ve got it on order and look forward to having it in my library. We desperately need a thoughtful and biblical take on this book that isn’t filtered through our dominate western rationalistic worldview.

In the 32 minute video interview below, Dr. Fee talks about the book of Revelation and basic principles of understanding Scripture.

Here are a few select quotes to give you a taste for the interview.

I don’t have trouble with people reading the Bible literally, because most of it is to be understood literally. But they shouldn’t read the Psalms or the Revelation that way. Yes, take it literally in terms of what it is, but please let it be its thing, don’t make it different than what it is.

[Revelation is] a marvelous book, and I just cringe whenever I see and hear people take it and make it have to do primarily with something in our future, when the only stuff that’s in our future [is] chapters 21 and 22. Everything else belongs back in the near future of these seven churches and all other Christians at the beginning of the second century.

I just experience enormous pain when I hear [Revelation] used in a Dispensationalist way, because frankly they know almost nothing about the book as John intended.

The problem with North Americans … is that we think we have a special privilege with God and we should get all the breaks and none of the pain.

[If there is one thing to know about the book of Revelation, know that it is] about the first century church that is headed for a terrible two century holocaust. Read it with that in view and then ask yourself, where do I fit in.

Enjoy and let me know what you think.


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Word Images of the Gospel

I’m a visual/kinesthetic learner. As a visual learners I learn best by seeing information. So to discover insights into something, I’m always looking for a way to picture information. A word cloud is one way to do this.

A word cloud gives greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the data being examined. So the more frequent a word appears in the text, the larger it appears in the word cloud. This allows one to quickly see main ideas, subjects or thoughts based on the words used.

I recently created word clouds (below) for the gospel according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

It’s interesting to see commonality, as one would expect, but also the uniqueness of each.

Matthew

gospel of matthew word cloud

Mark

gospel of mark word cloud

Luke

gospel of luke word cloud

John

gospel of john word cloud

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