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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Missions is like football

The Superbowl is coming up soon. I don't know what our plans are other than I am sure we will be watching with friends on a big tv. There will be thousands of other people who pay big bucks to sit in the stadium and watch the big game. And then there are the players.

I am certain that of all these people with an interest in the big game, the players on the winning team will experience the greatest levels of joy. (and pain, by the way)

I realized that missions is like this in many ways. Many Americans are sitting on the couch. watching mission work from afar. They are excited about the results, and like to yell about how it should be done, but they do not invest any blood or sweat.

Then there are others who give sacrificially of their money, but are still merely spectators like the fans in the stands. They love the game, but are still not players.

Then there are the players. They give months, days, and hours of blood, sweat, and tears to prepare for this big moment. They gladly face pain and potential injury for love of the game (and big bucks which is not like missions).

I contemplated this vision for some time trying to find myself in the picture. I finally decided that I want to be the coach. I want to be the person who trains and equips the players at The Crossroads to go out into all the world. I want to teach my quarterback how to run without fear. I want to train my defensive line to hold against evil. To stand firm. But most of all I just want to have a part in the game. I don't want to sit on the couch, or even in the stands. I want to go. And I want to take my friends.

My big question is now "What's next?"

Friday, January 29, 2010

World mandate Friday night

I need some time to fully process it all, but here's the bottom line. Every year the world mandate conference seeks to highlight a handful of unreached people groups and encourage churches to pick one and focus their outreach efforts.

It was a good night of worship, although I will say that only knowing one of the songs felt a little odd. Not bad, just odd.

The speaker was Jimmy Seibert. He is the senior pastor from Antioch Church in Waco. He talked about his recent experiences in Haiti and also other places around the world he has visited. He challenged us to run to pain. He said that Americans love the easy life. We hide from and ignore pain. While we are busy entertaining ourselves people are dying without hope.

I don't know that I heard anything new tonight. But at the end of the service, Jimmy asked people who felt called to go to come forward if they wanted prayer. So I went. It was strange to be on the receiving end of an altar call.

The aisles were crowded and they quickly ran out of counselors. I turned to walk away because I did not have to have prayer, I was not upset, I just felt urged to move. As I was turning, a woman stepped from the aisle. She said, "I am a lifegroup leader and I saw you and God told me to pray for you." I explained who I was and how our church is seeking to adopt an unreached people group. I asked her to pray that I would have wisdom and discernment about this. Very calm, cool, and collected. Then she began to pray. She prayed about the things I had said and then she prayed about all the things I had not said. The fear of being inadequate for the task, the fear of screwing it up, the fear of missing my big opportunity to chase God, my lack of knowledge of where I can get adequate training for the big vision. Calm, cool, and collected left me at that point.

Last point - tonight as I walked through the displays about the nations, two struck my eye. One was "let it rain" the other was "beauty from ashes". Both are phrases that define me, that I use often, and basically assumed I had copyrights on (just kidding). Interesting to see those two phrases in booths next to each other.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Here am I.

Isaiah 6 is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. God is looking for someone who is willing to go and speak on his behalf. Isaiah says "here am I. Send me". In recent months, I find myself repeating this phrase in my head.

I am excited to have the opportunity to spend the weekend at a missions conference. I am hoping that God will clear up how He wants me to serve Him vocationally.

My biggest challenge had been learning to be available every day. I am struggling to learn that the next "mission trip" begins every morning when my feet hit the floor. I am looking forward (scared too) to seeing where the adventure takes me as I pray continually, "Here am I. Send me."

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Monday morning update 1.24.09

I've watched my cursor flashing on my screen for nearly 15 minutes. It is not that I have nothing to say, but that what I want to say has no words.

I heard that the adult services were amazing today. I was in children's. But what I saw was absolutely incredible. My lesson was completely lame and impossible to do in a large group of 20+ kids. So I used some of my big kids to lead small breakout discussion groups and activities. It was beautiful.

I listened to these older girls reteaching the main point in their groups and asking exactly the right questions and talking to the younger children about how much God loves them. I suddenly saw that God does not intend for us to wait until we are adults to serve.

This year in church planting, I have asked my children to step outside their comfort zone and minister beyond their years. In doing so, I have watched God change their lives. I am privileged to be watching my children and others discovering that God wants to use them right now. Seeing their excitement in that discovery brings fresh energy into my own faith.

I was also excited about our painting at Samaritan Inn, the homeless shelter in McKinney on Saturday. It is awesome to see the overwhelming excitement about outreach at The Crossroads.

Next Sunday I will have the opportunity to help host a birthday party for Birthday Blessing. Birthday Blessing provides parties for underprivileged children.

Originally I was just attending to scope things out and see how we could be involved, but the party grew in size and had to be split into two locations. So now I'm hosting one of the parties with a friend who is a regular volunteer. It would seem that I am doing witnessing bracelets and explaining the message of salvation to the kids and families. I am stoked out of my head how God is opening doors for ministry.

Pray about how I can find the time to do all the stuff that God says do. I so want to give God my whole life, but I have to work. My family needs to eat. Not that my job as a teacher is not ministry, but it is not what God has made me passionate about.

I'm looking forward to a busy week. To all a goodnight.