The Road is Coming Clearer

October 23, 2009

Jesus has changed me.  In fact, he has made me totally new and now I will never be the same.  Every day my new identity in Jesus is played out, growing in new ways to take root in every part of my existence.  This life is no checklist to be accomplished.  It is holistic and leads me in to a new way of living.  My family, my understanding of myself, my priorities and every other area of my life will be changed.

At the same time I am continually formed and reformed through my relationships with other Christ followers.  We form a learning community together as we pursue Christ and the restoring of all things in our own personal lives and relationships.  Together our love for Jesus marks our identity as his followers.

Besides my own personal formation, which is constantly being played out, and the life I lead in support of and supported by my triad, I am also banded together with a larger group of Jesus followers on mission to renew our city and community.  Together we have the ability to engage larger projects of renewal in our city.  My life in Christ and triad are enriched by others in the group who know God’s story and have begun to participate in it in ways that stretch me.  This larger group does not bear the same kind of near constant presence my triad does, though we still meet regularly.

Finally is my extended family.  God is at work in many ways in my region and city and so I also gather with an extended group of believers to celebrate our God and to seek him together.

My dream is that one day the above testimony, or some cognate, would be spoken by a Dutchman on the other side of Holland.  The long beneficiary of today’s renewal.

“How do we understand our mission biblically–Old and New Testaments?  How does my identity in Christ, formed by mission, form me for mission?  How do we organize around what God is doing and joining him?  Where is the balance between Spirit and form?  What are the rhythms of life that my new identity in Christ leads us in to as an individuals?  as a community?  How do we re-join God in the restoration of all things?  How do we make our lives about this restoration, trimming back the excess?

These are the questions we are facing today.  And, these are the questions we just beginning to answer as we step out in baby-step like answer to God’s gargantuan call.

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Sleeping and Dreams

September 7, 2009

Sometimes after a long shift at Branches Christian Bookstore in Vancouver I would find myself between dreams and wakefulness organizing and shelving books.  I don’t know if I was awake, asleep or somewhere in between (nightmares?).  Whatever the case was, I can tell you the result was not restful.

Yes, one of the guys in our church has this shirt.

Yes, one of the guys in our church has this shirt.

This week I found myself in a similar situation, but this time, instead of organizing books, I was translating in to Dutch!  Its very strange to have to force yourself to wake up enough to be able to tell yourself to dream in a language that will allow you to rest!

I’m sure the grammar was horrible and the vocab was off, but I’m still trying to figure out if my sleeping mind beginning to speak Dutch is a good thing…your thoughts?

Oh yes, the me monster rages inside all of us.  There is no language barrier, no cultural divide, no social setting where he is not liable to show up.

Something about living in a world you hardly understand (and I’m just talking about language) seems to feed the me monster’s obtrusiveness.  But why?  In all honesty, I think a lot of it has to do with the value we (to avoid the more dangerous and personal “I”) believe we attain through language and communication with other people.

In the words of Donald Miller, “man was wired so that somebody else told him who he was” (Searching for God Knows What, 71).  Its tough to say something witty or insightful to show everyone how valuable you are when you don’t speak their language or have any idea what everyone’s been talking about for the last ten minutes.

It doesn’t make my me monster happy, but, who knows?  Maybe our journey through ignorance into Dutch will lead us to actually live out God’s hope for us in Christ:

Do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with its practices and have been clothed with the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the one who created it…Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience… –Colossians 3:9-10, 12

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