Category Archives: Uncategorized

God’s Fire In Our Hearts

Published / by roger
(I am thinking of the national leaders in several countries that we work with as I write this).

No matter what we are called to do, our first task is to always stir the fire of God within our own heart. I trust that, during this Christmas season, His love will burn brighter than ever.

A.W. Tozer brings this challenge:

"The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One. Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them go, one after one, he sill scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the Source of all things he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and he has it purely, legitimately and forever."

May our true source of all satisfaction, joy, and delight be found in our encounters with Jesus Christ. Fill us with a fresh thirst for you. "My soul thirsts for God, for the living God." Psalm 42:2

Topics Related to Viral Movements and Missions

Published / by roger
I am using this space to collect my thoughts on Viral Movements and Missions and the transformation of mission organizations, teams, and communities. Here are some of the topics I want to write about:

1. The Living Nature of Church. More than just an idea, it is a reality that must be embraced in order to see the church in its full glory and reproducibility.

2. The Error of Organic Church. The mark is missed when organic church is seen as another model of church rather than a description of the actual nature of church.

3. The Seed is Sufficient. Roland Allen on planting nothing more than the seed in indigenous cultures and then allowing it to grow and multiply within that context.

4. Removing Obstacles to the DNA of Life. This is the key to facilitating viral, living church–not control structures to humanly architect the church.

5. The Gospel is Life. Everything flows from the Gospel which is the result of the cross. When this is grasped, and barriers are removed, the seed of the kingdom reproduces itself.

6. Discipleship is Apprenticeship. This is best accomplished by the nearest-culture person available.

7. Outsider vs Insiders. An outsider can plant a seed, but only an insider can originate a work that can become viral within his/her context.

8. Outsider Training Dangers. Most outsider training introduces hindrances and barriers to viral movements within the insider's context.

9. People Groups Reached. People groups can only be reached by a naturalized Gospel within that group that has the DNA of multiplication.

10. Partnerships Can Be Deadly. Mission organizations foster partnerships which often lead to control and dependency. This hinders and/or kills movements.

11. Mission Organizations as Consultants. Mission organizations must develop experienced consultants who know how to remain as outsiders while working with insiders correctly without fostering dependency or partnerships. Consultants must understand the principles of planting the seed of a naturalized Gospel and the DNA of movement while allowing both to grow as shaped by the insider.

12. Mission Organizations and Culture Change. Many mission organizations will require a culture change to be effective in facilitating viral movements because they will need to change systems, structures, behaviors, and beliefs.

The Shift to Living Church Still Needed

Published / by roger
Through years of discussions about organic church and viral church we find ourselves wanting something that is living and dynamic and believe that this is, at its core, the very nature of church. Yet we continue to throw up obstacles to this very thing: As Roland Allen says in “The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church:”
 
But if we, toiling under the burden of our organizations, sigh for that spontaneous freedom of expanding life, it is because we see in it something divine, something in its very nature profoundly efficient, something which we would gladly recover, something which the elaboration of our modern machinery obscures and deadens and kills.
 
We don’t like facing that, in missions and church life (even missional communities as expressions of church life), we continue to function in a way that shows we do not fully believe in the living power of God’s church. We continue to plan and control as our primary modus operandi for the spread of the Gospel rather than facilitate the life that is in the seed.
 
Allen goes on to say: “but the moment that we think of churches in the apostolic sense of the word, we see at once that the spontaneous activity of the individual members of such churches might very speedily result in the multiplication of churches all over the country.”

My True Home

Published / by roger

Sometime I get confused.  I begin thinking that I am already home and that I need to hang onto people, things, memories, or try to control my circumstances or else it will all go by and I will ‘miss out.’

But then I remember that home is coming.  Tim, my adult son who left this life two years ago, reminds me of this.  He is gone from me here, but I can still feel his nearness which is pulls a shadow awareness of my true home into my heart.  I know Tim lives, I know that God holds him and me and all those I love, and I know that my true home is coming.

This shifts everything.

I can relax.  I can feel what I feel.  I can be who I am.  I can venture out and take risks and find new adventures because my real home, my future home, cannot be taken from me.  I may have other losses in this world, but I cannot lose that which is most dear and most precious to me ever!  His faithful love endures forever!

When Our Children Struggle

Published / by roger

For those of us who have struggled with children going through difficulties and find it hard to release them to God’s care, I highlight these words from A.W. Tozer:

“We are often hindered from giving up our treasures to the Lord out of fear for their safety; this is especially true when those treasures are loved relatives and friends. But we need have no such fears. Our Lord came not to destroy but to save. Everything is safe which we commit to Him, and nothing is really safe which is not so committed.”

Authentic Connections are Better Than a Hallelujah

Published / by roger

Vulnerable-2008 Some of the most difficult people to like are religious people with religious fronts.

“Hallelujah, brother. God is good and I am blessed. Are you walking in his blessing today and everyday?”

It’s not that I can’t love this guy or even appreciate his sincerity on some level, it’s just that I can’t touch him.  I can’t connect with the person who is behind those religious words and who is really like every other human.  Deep inside we are all conflicted: both needy and fulfilled, happy and sad, faith-filled and fearful, victorious and defeated… human.

Unfortunately religion creates barriers between people because it is posturing, it is a face to wear and it’s not real.

Jesus spoke of his followers as being poor of spirit and those who know they need a doctor.  Humans who are real can connect on a deep level with other human beings and that is the dynamic through which the Good News of the wonder of Jesus is can be deeply shared and communicated to others.

Amy Grant sings a song, Better than a Hallelujah, that expresses this well (excerpts here):

Beautiful the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah…

God loves a drunkards cry,
The soldiers plea not to let him die
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes…

The woman holding on for life,
The dying man giving up the fight
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes
The tears of shame for what’s been done,
The silence when the words won’t come
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes.

Beautiful the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah…

May our communities be filled with something better than a hollow “hallelujah!” so that the love of Jesus can flow from one honest heart to the next in a world that deeply needs Him!