Beginning Friday night Paul and I began teaching through Gospel, Identity, Rhythms and Missional Community at a rate of one and a half hours per topic.  Wow.  The incredible thing?  For myself at least, three hours still felt like turning a fire hose on an unsuspecting crowd.

What was the outcome?  I think Paul summed it up well: “I think they’re getting it: they’re excited and scared.  If they were just one and not the other, I don’t think I could say that.”  Honestly, I can’t think of a better response to the power and purpose of God.  If God’s purpose really is in the restoration of all things AND he’s yearning for us to participate with him by his power in that–that is exciting!  Yet, if God’s purpose really is as overwhelming as he says it is, then we should be scared (and driven back to trusting in him and his sufficiency to accomplish his purposes).

Thank you for your prayers for this weekend!  Six hours is a lot of time for anyone to listen to anything and not only did our group do it–they did it well!

Now it is time to follow-up with the participants and file away the things we need to change for next year’s trainings (in the first weekends of February, May and October 2011)

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!

Reflection From Colorado

October 1, 2008

As our training continues here in Littleton Colorado, I wanted to pass on one of the topics I thought really describes the experience we have been in and will continue to walk through.  If you’ve ever wondered, “What is it like for a missionary to leave?”  I think these five areas sum up our current experience pretty well: 

DSCN0775

Kate listening to one of our instructors.

Phase I – Involvement:

At this point you are still known by people around you.  You are comfortable and you know where things are and belong.  

Phase II – Leaving:

Moving out of regular life, the phase of Leaving includes eerythign that happens around and to you in preparation of leaving.  This that period when you begin to unplug, when life “at home” starts going on without you.  As you continue to prepare to leave, your experience of people, events and surroundings changes as recognition of “lasts” (“This may be my last Christmas in Vancouver,” “This may be the last time I see ______”, etc.) begins to color your thinking, further heightening your awareness that you no longer fit your surroundings.   Slowly (or not so slowly), you and those around you seem to unplug, in preparation for the coming goodbye.  (This phase is probably where we are right now)

Phase III – Chaos:

Split down the middle, this phase lives up to its name in different ways on both sides of the ocean.  Before you leave Chaos sets in as the people around you realize that you’re leaving and suddenly find the drive to say goodbye, have lunch, dinner, brunch, afternoon tea, elvensies, and any other thing they can think of to try to get some together time before you say the big Goodbye.  At the same time life stateside becomes even more hectic as those final holdouts of familiarity are forced to die in the mad dash towards the airplane.  

On the other side of the ocean the Chaos continues as you remain totally unsettled, having forfeited all of the customary familiarities of your former home.  Not only do you not know how to get around in your new surroundings (culturally and directionally), but you are also just beginning the process of discovering where your own things are.  What’s more, you find yourself to be totally unknown in your new environment.  They don’t know you, your giftings, your personality, your tastes, your passions–nothing.  

Phase IV – Entering:

This is when you begin to be known again.  The people you live with are slowly discovering–with a little unabashed self-promotion–who you are and what you can do.  Concurrently you are being relationally investigated (just as you too are investigating people) for their potential as friends, partners and contacts. Dive too deep, with too little discernment and you’ve just buried yourself in over-commitment.  To be too conservative in this period feels like being damned to continue in the uncertainty of Phase III.  

Phase V – Reengagement:

Finally, as your transition to your new culture begins to normalize (a process which will probably take no less than a year), you have come to be known and to know.  You feel settled again.  You know where things are, and though you will always continue learning about the culture and language, you at least know some of how to get around in this once foreign place.  

What a journey, huh?  Nonetheless it is the journey we find ourselves on with God.  

I think this all speaks pretty well for itself, but the one thing I would like to highlight, is the importance of knowing and being known.  Over and over it comes up.  Where do things belong?  Where do I belong?  Who knows that’s where I belong?  Amazing how important it is to know and be known–even when it means knowing where to buy bread or where to put my keys.  What I’m wondering is, What does that desire say about us as people?

Joey

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