Friday and Saturday we will be holding our first two-day missional community leader training at REALITY called REALITY Foundations.  Please be praying for this time and the fifteen (-ish) people who will be participating.

Paul and I will be splitting time covering the basics of Gospel, Identity (who we are), Rhythms (how we live) and Missional Community over the course of four one and a half hour sessions.  Yes folks, the proverbial fire hose will be blasting, and we’re hoping to see some gospel transformation as Jesus’ people awaken to what he has done and how he has fitted them to engage on mission with him in the everyday.

Here are some of the remaining prayer needs:

  • Health: I’ve been fighting a cold/sore throat for about two weeks now
  • Childcare: We’re still needing one session covered on Saturday in the morning
  • Ownership: Pray that God works deeply to plant his word and work in his people to free them up for mission and engaging the world with his presence.  If missional community is really happening at REALITY it will be because our identity and life is grounded in who God is and what he has done, transforming everything about how we live.

Thank you for your prayers!  I hope to be updating you soon with more stories of the Gospel at work among us soon–this time from Halloween!

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Knowing me in you

November 22, 2009

For a long time now I’ve marveled at how relationships seem to find their foundation in the most mundane of times.  Sitting around playing games or something.  Do it for long enough and your circle of friends will be seriously renovated.  A couple things recently–things I’ve read, heard and experienced–might finally be bringing some clarity in to this.

Tim Chester said something that caught my attention when he said this:

“In the triune God the one and the many are perfectly held together…God’s plurality does not compromise his unity nor does his unity compromise his plurality.  He is not one in a way that he cannot be three.  He is not three in a way that he cannot be one.  And the key is that divine personal is defined in relational terms…God is persons in community and human personhood too is in the image in the triune God and therefore defined in relational terms.  You can no more be a relation-less person than you can be a childless mother or a fatherless son…Who I am is defined in relation to other people.” (beginning around the 33rd minute of this message)

In stories, characters who tell us things about the main characters have come to be called “foil characters”, and in some sense all of us are foils to other characters in the stories we all inhabit.  In the words of C.S. Lewis,

“By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets. Now that Charles is dead, I shall never again see Ronald’s [Tolkien’s] reaction to a specifically Charles joke. Far from having more of Ronald, having him “to myself” now that Charles is away, I have less of Ronald” (The Four Loves)

Personally I have been reflecting on this and it has been slowly working its way in to reality.  My being is both that which is called from me in relation to other people and that which is created in my interactions with other people.

 

"Because you've given so much of yourself to the company that you don't have anything left we can use."

Slowly I think I am really coming to believe that I too am known in my relationships.  I am not who I am because I am a success or because I know the things I know, etc.  What this means is that my value no longer rests in what I produce or what I know.  My value rests in my relations, which is of course essentially the Law-Gospel juxtaposition as well, here my value is in Christ rather than my obtaining righteousness by the law.

 

Drawing the focus back a bit, I wonder how this impacts my understanding of Church.  We are who we are together not because of what we do but because of whose we are and our relationship with him.  I wonder that this is why Leonard Sweet should say this about church and “going”:

The church doesn’t ‘go’ into the world and take the church there.  The church ‘goes into the world to discover itself there.  The church isn’t ‘sent’ into the world merely to bless or even to ‘be a blessing to the nations.’  The church is ‘sent’ to be Jesus.  Jesus is the blessing.  As we incarnate Jesus in the world, we will find ourselves doing things he did, even ‘greater things.’ ” (So Beautiful, 61)

Thanks for writing your thoughts from the summer Kari.  It was really encouraging for us to read about your time here this summer. For everyone else, I hope you enjoy reading another perspective on the events of the summer.  The post that follows is really exactly the same as the note Kari wrote here on Facebook (so don’t feel bad if you don’t understand the inside jokes :)) We are so excited for where God has been and is continuing to take us! Enjoy!

“Oh Holland, How I Miss You”

By Karinna Hagelganz

I can’t believe how long it’s taken me to actually finish this… but here is it. My thoughts and stories from the second half of our mission trip to Europe, located in my favorite country.

Read the rest of this entry »

What is a Missionary?

October 29, 2009

A great question with many answers.  Its an especially good question considering every follower of Jesus, if they’re really following him, ought to live in like [missionary] form.  So if all Jesus followers are missionaries then again, what is a missionary?

Reading more of Len Sweet’s So Beautiful he mentions this definition: “A missionary is someone who lives on someone else terms.”

Amazingly someone has made a game called Missionaries and Cannibals where you shuffle the two groups between shores all the while keeping the cannibals from eating the missionaries.  My offering for a new game: How many faulty ideas about all parties can you find?

Amazingly someone has made a game called "Missionaries and Cannibals" (click picture to play) where you shuffle the two groups between shores all the while keeping the cannibals from eating the missionaries. My offering for a new game: How many faulty ideas about all parties can you find?

What a great way to view myself as a Christian.  What a great way to view Jesus’ coming to earth, being wrapped in flesh and living among us.  I picture Jesus in the womb or lying on Mary’s lap crying for his next meal and I think, “Wow!  That is meeting people on their terms.”

The Gospel didn’t change–again look at Jesus!–but everything about it was brought to bear in a place that formerly could not see, hear or touch him.  And he so fully dwelt there, that they could not only see him, but kill him.

Please choir, don’t think I’m preaching at you.  I’m really searching for how our missionary identity in Christ would shape my life as well as those around me.

(For more on the Christian’s missionary identity in Christ check out Soma Communities’ page and audio on the subject–really good stuff!)

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One Side of Camp

August 24, 2009

Call it a social experiment in transformation.  Call exploring the spiritual landscape left in Jesus’ re-creating wake.  Call it a wager on the connectedness of all believers to the Head.   Whatever you call it, last week was phenomenal.  If I really try to boil the week down to its core–in the way we played, the way we worshiped, the way we studied, the way we ate together, and everything else–the weekend was really about us becoming who Jesus had already made us.

And so, when we worshipped we led (Eph. 5:19) and ministered to each other (James 5:16; Heb. 10:24-25).  When we ate, we waited (I Cor 11:33) for and served each other (literally–you weren’t allowed to serve yourself dinner I Pet. 4:10).  When we studied we learned together and taught each other (Col. 3:16).  When we played we came up with the games together.  A bit different than we’re used to, but at its heart, all of it was an attempt to live as though each of us is connected to the Head through our relationship with Jesus.

I’ll be honest, things were a little rough at times in the beginning, and our times of worship are a perfect microcosm of the week. Our first evening response time was pretty standard: a couple people playing music below and a little to the side of the projector, me sitting off to the other side in the front, with everyone else sitting semi-circularly in front of us.  As the week progressed however, I migrated away from the front to where I could be more among everyone.  I began introducing our times with encouragement for people to lead out in prayer or scripture reading, even encouraging them to pause our time, inviting others to pray, confess sin, or read scripture.  Somewhere in the middle of the week, the worship band also moved away from the front, so that by the end week the front had been totally demolished.

I wasn’t taking too many notes during the first and the final worship times, so I can’t compare them too fully.  But, I can tell you the difference between the two was immense.  I don’t remember how many people prayed, read scripture, encouraged others to contribute or respond to what the Lord was doing, but I did notice how many people played music or powerpoint during the one and a half hours we spent in worship.  The first night five people participated; one on power point, four playing four different instruments.  Thursday, during our last response time powerpoint changed hands four times and no one instrument was played the entire time by any one person–some changed hands as many as many as five times!

Alright, so besides a random bunch of “worship stats” what was that all about?  The point of that, was that in the course of just five days, as our little group of 23ish people communed on our identity in Christ we more than doubled the number of people willing to lead others in to worship!

Where this really gets exciting to me, is when I begin thinking in other spheres.  Our time began with only two or three teachers at most–how many did we leave with?  I don’t think many students came to camp expecting to serve, yet, by the end, they had all become accustomed to serving!

Now, as we settle back in to living in the “real world”, the challenge is figuring out how we (and I specifically) can move to support the lives Jesus is leading our students to lead right where he has put them.  This is exactly the question we are asking of our Tuesday night gathering–how can we use this time to support your daily life in Jesus in the places he has put you?  No longer, “How can we get you here?” but “How can we help you minister where you are?”

Much the same as camp, we’re setting out in to new territory, depending on Jesus to lead us in to the new things and new places he is moving.  Dangerous and risky business I know, but I’m anticipating good things from the one from whom all good things flow!

PS – Hopefully Ryan and Kari will be blogging their thoughts from their time in France and Holland soon so keep an eye out.

PPS – I’m going to try to get some pictures up here soon…

Campy, Camp, Camp…

August 20, 2009

Just a quick update…
Wow! It has been a great week away with the youth here! Teaching, which has largely been discussion/discovery on steriods, began with the power of God, moving to explore our identity in Christ (as family, missionaries, servants and learners via @somacommunities), one session each. Then we moved to reconsider how these identities pave a way for us to live. Finally, we spent our final session re-evaluating how our meeting together serves to bolster and support our identity in Christ.
Even as I type this the students are discussing some really great stuff!
My main goal for us this week has been that it would help us shift our focus from “church” being all about the times we gather (on Sunday and Tuesday) to being about our identity as church. I’m excited for what lies in store! Though it is still infantile for many of us, I’m seeing some awesome glimmers of lights coming on as students’ lives are beginning to be changed by their identity in Christ. So good. So good…
I’ll be writing more once we get back (and I’m no longer typing on a two inch keyboard).
More soon!

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