How long would, should or could it take for one church of…oh, let’s pull a number out of the air…say, fifty (-ish) people to plant 20 churches?  Great question.   Our pastor Stan has said that he would be a happy man if 20 churches had been planted in Holland by the time he dies.  Is it pie in the sky or is it possible?

“Yeah, but God can accomplish anything he wants and its not about what we do.”  I know, I know.  I get it, I really do.  But aside from the near determinism that says “God’s going to do what God’s going to do”, the question I am asking is, what things do we as a church need to participate with God in the building of his Kingdom?

#1 – We need to know our identity.  Most of the time I believe resistance to church planting is rooted in the belief that “I’m not called or equipped to plant a church.”  The only reason I can think of for having this perspective is that people do not believe they already are the church.  When I come to terms with the fact that I already am the church–because of Jesus’ work in me–then planting church becomes very accessible.

#2 – We need to re-discover what it means for us to be a Gospel-centered community.  Many of us have been saved by a Gospel that is only large enough to demand two hours each Sunday morning from us.  The Gospel of some demands even less.  However, if the life Jesus offers is truly life, then it ought to reform not only my Sundays, but my Mondays and Tuesdays and Wednesdays as well.  So, how are we living as the Gospel-founded community, feasting on the riches of Christ in our everyday lives together?  If the answer to that question also defines what the church is or was meant to be, then surely the insurmountable gap between doing and being church will begin to shrink and again planting church becomes very accessible.

These are two of my biggest desires for the people in our fellowship.  That they would know their identity in Christ.  And that we would actually begin to live the Gospel-centered community Christ made us to be when he saved us by grace for the good works he prepared for us to do beforehand in Jesus!

Please pray for us!

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Participation

September 20, 2008

God continues to provide for us as our intended departure date (in mid-October) approaches!  As of now, our monthly support needs have dropped down to just $650 before our monthly expenses are completely covered!  It has been a long journey, but suddenly the end (of fund raising at least) seems very near.

Looking back at things to this point it is funny to see the roles we each play in God’s great redemptive mission. This weekend we have seen people partner with God by baking cookies and cupcakes, they have sorted clothes for a fund-raising garage sale, they have prayed, they have made signs and they have committed to support us financially.  We have had people apologize for how little their contribution was–for amounts ranging from $25 to $100 to $200.

The bottom line is this: God is using us and God can use you.  Not everyone can go, not everyone can give, but God has built his body in such a way that everyone can participate.  What great and humbling news!

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!

September 5, 2008

Instead of opting for lines about rivers and what they are like when you step in them multiple times, I’d like to opt for a more 80’s route by tapping the like of David Bowie.  After all, who better to introduce the idea of change than the Thin White Duke (a big “I’m sorry” goes out to the Anti-Bowie Crowd out there, but he’s the first person I thought of)

That’s right we’re changing things up a bit!  There is no doubt in my mind: we have been amazingly blessed by all the people who have shown interest in supporting us!  You have been amazing, and such an encouragement to us!

One of the most encouraging things has been hearing the question, “How can I help?”  While we had originally hoped to use a wiki (if you don’t know what that is don’t worry about it) to help organize and communicate our moral, financial, communication, logistical and prayer support needs, we have come to find the technology just doesn’t accomplish what we’d hoped.  Moving forward, here is what you can expect to see:

  1. Involvement: Just keep reading the blog (joewulf.wordpress.com).  “When and where will prayer meetings be happening?”  “How can I help with a fundraiser for the Wulfs?”  “Where can I find prayer requests for the Wulfs?”–Read the blog, read the blog, read the blog.  Starting now, you can expect updates from the various team leaders with information on how you can get involved.
  2. Wiki-Planning: Still open for business (joewulf.pbwiki.com).  If you would still like to be involved in helping at a deeper level (i.e. participating in planning, organizing, etc.), you are welcome to request access to the wiki by clicking the link.  If you would like to help, but the wiki just doesn’t work for you, that’s fine!  Just keep reading the blog to find out more about where you can plug in to help!

Our hope in implementing these changes is that they will make it easier for you to further involve yourself in what God is doing in Holland.

Thanks again for your love and care for us!  We lean on your prayers and support in so many ways as the Lord continues to lead us abroad for his Kingdom!  Thank you for learning along with us!

Crossroads’ Amsterdam team left today to go minister for the next 16 days on the streets of Holland’s capitol!  Traveling with them were Shey and Arto–our two Dutch friends who have been here the last three weeks. 

While it was sad to see them all go–especially going without me–I am excited for the ministry the Lord has laid before them!  As one of the planners of the trip, I get a bit of a preview of the Lord’s working in this trip.  This time last week we were wondering how that last $4,500 would come in, or (I should say) who the Lord was going to use to provide it.  Surprise, surprise that God has done it again, but I don’t think that provision will ever stop being thrilling to see!  God is so good!  Check out these sites for more updates from the team members Ryan Topper and Cam Wyenberg.

Traveling ahead of the team are Ryan Topper (who just arrived in Amsterdam this morning by God’s grace) and Alicia Smith, who has been in Hungary attending Calvary Chapel’s missions training school (and is pictured).  I would love to see (and facilitate) this sort of thing, where we are releasing people into ministry like this.  I love it, and it gets my imagination going…Where could this make a difference in Amsterdam?  Perhaps at the 19,000 student university in Amsterdam…?
Smitty!

 

“Now I know what to do with my life!”–the words of one middle school student as she exited Medical Teams International’s (MTI) “Real. Life.” exhibit June 14th.  What response could be better than that for the middle school ministry’s first attempt at mobilizing students to missions?  In all, we had about 35 students join us Saturday as we exposed them to both the needs of the world and God’s heart in the middle of it all. 

Though we only spent three hours on location in Tigard at MTI’sinternational headquarters, the time was jam packed, including an hour experiencing “Real. Life.”, an hour learning about life in Africa without running water and an hour learning about how they can get involved with what God is doing in the world (by praying, giving and going). 

Maybe it is because of their age, or maybe it is because they are so rambunctious, but there are few things sweeter than seeing a middle school student get it.  They are, after all, the next generation of the church.  Let us pray that God will use them to lead his church into a more faithful reflection of the Son!

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