Monday, January 31, 2011

Live Connected

Being part of His Church happens by simply loving the people God puts before you each day. Be intentional about cultivating friendships, especially with new people...

...Simply loving those around us will open whatever other doors Jesus needs to build His Church. I am convinced that everything God wants done in the world can happen as the simple extension of growing friendships. That will provide fellowship enough, outreach enough, and work enough to let God’s life flow to the world. He said so himself. If we will simply love others like He loves us the whole world will
come to know him. (John 13:34-35)

~ Wayne Jacobsen (Living Loved Newsletter - Winter 2011)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Wide Awake

"When we live wide awake, the world begins to reflect the kind of place in which God intended us to live. After all, he placed us in paradise and expected us to take care of his creation - so much for a good start. Now we need to step up and reclaim what was lost. Jesus came to bring out the best in us. When this happens, we should expect that everything else will change for the better.

We need to live wide awake because there are diseases killing millions and we need to find a cure, famines leaving multitudes starving and we need to provide food, economies leaving families homeless and we need to create opportunities for work and wealth, genocide that must be stopped, slavery that must be ended, water wells that must be dug, children who need to be loved, relationships that need to be healed, elderly who need to be cared for, beauty that needs to be created, futures that need to be saved, and dreams that we must not let die or go unfulfilled.

There is a future that needs to be created, and it is waiting for you and me to wake up and get out of bed. The alarm has sounded, and it is time to shake off the slumber.

You know that little bit of sadness that greets you in the morning? Maybe it's there because you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing. You're not living the life you're supposed to be living. You're not dreaming wide awake. It's your soul searching for it's hero."

- Erwin Raphael McManus, Wide Awake

Friday, January 28, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Eyes of Jesus

"Jesus didn't see a sick woman, he saw a daughter of God. He didn't see an outcast from society, he saw a child of Israel. He didn't see a sinner, he saw a person in the image of the creator.

Are we able to see others with the eyes of Jesus?

Seeing rightly is the beginning of renewal, forgiveness, healing and grace. Seeing rightly is the beginning of how our hearts are changed."
~ Mark Labberton 'The Dangerous Act of Loving Your Neighbor - Seeing Others Through the Eyes of Jesus'

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hello Somebody

"He who is hungry must be fed rather than taught."

- Sir Thomas Aquinas

What does God have to say about poverty and justice?

It's as if God is saying, "Can you hear me now?" What are we hearing? What are we doing about it? To hear means to obey. Can you hear Him?

It's just the plain truth

"For I was hungry, while you had all you needed. I was thirsty, but you drank bottled water. I was a stranger, while you wanted me deported. I needed clothes, but you needed more clothes. I was sick, and you pointed out the behaviors that led to my sickness. I was in prison, and you said I was getting what I deserved.

- Richard E. Stearns, Hole in Our Gospel

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What I am thankful for today

Today I am thankful that each day God renews His love and forgiveness. Yesterdays deeds are not conditions for todays mercies. Through His loving mercy and grace each day begins anew. Thank God I don't have to be stuck in yesterday's yuck!!!!

Status quo must go!

" So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an arch-defender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent -- and often even vocal -- sanction of things as they are. But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century." ~ Dr. Martin Luther King

Monday, January 17, 2011

Passion ~ Part one

Passion...a friend passed a quote along to me three years ago from an unknown source that went like this,"Your passion (drive/motivation) in life comes from the place you've been hurt the most." I had forgotten all about it until recently. Meanwhile, whenever the question was asked at church,"What is your passion?" I somehow knew the "right" answer had to be something that included Jesus or God in it. I kind of felt that's what they wanted to hear. Yet the answer that came immediately to the forefront of my mind was always "To give those who have no voice or cannot speak for themselves a chance to be heard." Definitely not such a churchy answer. I have worked with children having special needs for many years now and nothing gave me a sense of satisfaction and happiness more than finding a form of communication by which the individual could finally have a say which impacted their daily life. Not just choosing from someone else's idea of choices. That was no small feat considering some were blind, others unable to control the smallest part of their body independently and many totally non-verbal. However not everybody feels so strongly about this issue. Over the years I would become very frustrated when I saw time being wasted as activities were given as busywork to occupy the students instead of pursuing something which could be life changing...such as finding a means of communication that they might use for being able to say what they wanted or needed when they wanted or needed it. I express my ideas very readily and when others don't quite catch the vision I don't give up...I just put it in terms that they might understand better such as "Why don't you put duct tape over your mouth and see how your behavior takes a turn for the worse by the end of the day?" This is not the best way to make friends and influence people!

Passion ~ Part 2

As a believer I became convicted that my "truth" was not always spoken with love. (How could I do this as someone who is salt and not red pepper flakes?) I also asked myself why was I so passionate about this? I thought about my longtime passion for the unborn and drew another parallel under the heading "those who have no voice". The Lord brought to mind the words...your passion comes from that place you've been hurt the most...With a flash I was gently reminded how as a child the adults in my life had a "children should be seen and not heard" philosophy. Taking it to the extreme all that mattered was that I did what I was told when I was told to do it no matter how wrong it was. No matter how sick I was. My Loving Heavenly Father had saved all my tears and they washed over me anew as I realized where my passion stems from. So this new understanding reminds me how we all have wounds that God is in the business of healing but meanwhile "We can be so sure that every detail of our lives of love for God is worked into something good" Romans 8:28 It's ok to be passionate for "the least of these" but as I am, may I never forget the ways of "the Lord of these" and love as He loves. Examine your passion...live your passion...love your passion. Just thinking outloud....

The Heart of Passion 2011

The following excerpt is from an interview by Emily Hoernschemeyer of CCM (Christ. Community. Music.) Digital Magazine (page 34) with Louie Giglio about Passion 2011 just prior to the event in Atlanta, GA.  This is Louie's response to questions about what he is looking forward to at this year's conferences, what God was leading him to speak on, his prayer for Passion and how the music component fits in with worship:

"What does it mean for me to live for what matters most? That's the heart of Passion ~ what does it mean for me to live my life in such a way that it makes Jesus famous? There are a lot of people who haven't heard about His name and we want to make sure they hear about His renowned fame.

Our Bible studies are focused around Philippians 2, but we are going to be unpacking the glory of God for students, then build on themes of justice and the reality of Jesus' fame.

We are praying that people would be restored, that they would find hope again, that their dreams will be breathed on, that they will sense how valuable they are to God and that they will really believe His credibility, faithfulness and purpose for them through His supernatural and transforming presence.

Music is a non-debatable universal language that people speak. Worship is central because it unifies us instantly. We are not about singing great songs; we want those great songs to fuel us in this moving out to do what God wants most: justice, obedience, and people coming to know Him."

Is that your passion?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Today's Blessing

In going over the ancestory of Jesus with my class at the rescue mission today, one of the ladies really blessed me. We were talking about how Ruth was related to Lot and how God orchestrated all of these people to be in the bloodline of Christ. Their lives make Christ a Savior for all. One of the ladies lighted up and said that because we are Christians we are adopted into this family so that makes these people part of our family tree. She lovingly caressed the pages of the Bible and said that this was the story of her family. I thought this was a really cool thought and wanted to share it with you all.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Some of our friends @ The Hub shelter

Click on the title to read article and view video.

Whatcha doin' ?

It's totally AWESOME to see what God is doing in and through those who are surrendered to Him and follow His heart in simple obedience! We rarely think that our small giving of time, prayers, resources, gifts/talents and money will amount to much of anything. Even in isolation, the impact that God does through them is incalculable and often unseen to us. When the body of believers unite for the purpose of glorifying Him, needs are met through the sharing of what He has given us. That love stands in opposition to the injustices of this world and His glory is made know throughout the nations! I just have to share what happened at Passion 2011 gathering in Atlanta, GA.

This post is from the 268 Blog:  Friday, January 7th, 2011

Together We Are A Force For Good!

Though none of us alone can tackle the massive injustice and poverty that shatters so many, together we are a force for good that exponentially increases our opportunity to lift those in need.

For us at Passion, being a movement for Jesus means loving the things He loves and moving where He moves in an effort to make Him happy and bring His light and love to all people of the world. Knowing that Jesus always moves to the weak, the poor, the prisoner and to those without a voice, Do Something Now has become a vital part of the fabric of every Passion gathering.

Over the four days of Passion 2011 Atlanta, over 22,000+ were rocked to the core and united for the world. We were challenged to partner with amazing organizations to fund ten local/global causes at a cost of $470,000. Here’s what happened:  Cause//Goal//Given

Homeless//Towels and Socks for Atlanta area shelters. Given: 18,400 towels and 88,000 pairs of socks!

Clean water//$75,000 for 15 wells in villages in India. Given: 24 wells!

Micro-finance//200 small business loans for Afghan entrepreneurs totaling $40,000. Given: 387 loans!

Bibles//20,000 New Testaments to unreached in Colombia at $20,000. Given: 31,554 New Testaments!

Feeding Children//Feed 1,000 at risk children in South Africa for one year at $50,000. Given: Feeding 2,225 children!

Homes//Build 15 homes in Haiti at $54,000. Given: 39 homes!

Sponsor Children//Sponsor 150 children and provide family essentials at a cost of $100,00. Given: 442 children sponsored!

Human trafficking//Restoration and a future for 10 girls trapped in sex slavery in Bolivia at a cost of $36,000. Given: 22 girls rescued/restored!

Surgeries for Children//$50,000 to fund 50 Hydrocephalus surgeries in Uganda. Given: 141 surgeries!

Rescue women//$45,000 to fund 10 rescue operations to free sex slaves in the Philippines (each operation frees 15 women on average). Given: 29 rescue operations!

Plus, College fund for Haitian earthquake survivor, Therissa Leo. Given: $23,106!
(This was not planned beforehand or factored into the $470,000 goal.)

Total Given at Passion 2011 Atlanta: $1,167,249.24

If you are wondering if your eyes are playing tricks on you, students/leaders/volunteers at Passion 2011 Atl gave over $1.1 million for the last and least of these in Jesus’ name. While the dollar amount is staggering, we cannot begin to quantify the intangible value of students connecting with those who will benefit from these gifts by writing a note/prayer to women being rescued, praying over a Bible or weeping for a family or a nation.

Do Something Now = worship + justice, what we believe God wants most from us. Something beautiful has shifted and we will never be the same. Stay connected and share Do Something Now with your friends and family who were not a part of Passion 2011 Atlanta at our new site: DoSomethingNow.com.

Thank You Jesus, for loving and rescuing us, and for giving us the chance to invest our money and our lives in the things that matter most in the end!
_________________________________________

Through Jesus, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, which is the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good, and sharing with others, for with these sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:15-16

posted by 268gen at 10:09 AM

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Following the Quintessential Nonconformist

"I have a conviction that keeps me up early and keeps me up late: there are ways of doing church that no one has thought of yet. If we keep trying to meet new challenges with tired old ideas, I'm afraid we'll fade into irrelevant oblivion. What we need is the freedom to experiment. We need to dream God-sized dreams and take God-sized risks. We need to dare to be different. ...

Don't try to be who you're not. Be yourself. Don't settle for the status quo. Challenge it. Don't do it the way it's always been done. Dare to be different. Nonconformity invites criticism, but that is the only option if you're following in the footsteps of the quintessential nonconformist, Jesus. God doesn't just give us permission to give expression to our uniqueness; He demands it. And the future of the kingdom may depend upon it."

- Mark Batterson, Primal

Non-Required Reading

I will just say first and foremost, there is no book that has rocked me, and continues to rock me consistently like God's word. His word is my greatest treasure and joy, and I continue to attempt to keep my nose stuck in it. It is so sweet to meditate on His words. They are new every morning. His word is required reading for the life of my spirit.

"O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day." - Psalm 119:97

Most of the following books that I read in 2010 made a major impact in my life. Some were just okay, some knocked it out of the park. I will never be the same after reading some of them. ...and that's a good thing. I'm grateful for the way God has used these authors in my life. Thank you, Lord! 2010 was an amazing year, and a turning point in my life. I can't wait to see what you're going to do next.

Books Read – 2010
1. The Irresistible Revolution – Living as an Ordinary Radical - Shane Claiborne (2nd reading)
2. What Difference Do It Make? – Denver Moore & Ron Hall
& 3. Follow Me to Freedom – Leading as an Ordinary Radical – Shane Claiborne and John M. Perkins
& 4. So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore – an unexpected journey – Wayne Jacobsen & Dave Coleman
& 5. Becoming the Answers to Our Prayers – Prayer for Ordinary Radicals - Shane Claiborne & Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
& 6. Forgotten God – Francis Chan
7. Let Justice Roll Down – John M. Perkins
8. Blue Like Jazz – Donald Miller
9. Forgotten God – Francis Chan (Audio book)
&10. Searching For God Knows What – Donald Miller
&11. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years – Donald Miller
&12. Follow Me to Freedom – Leading as an Ordinary Radical – Shane Claiborne and John M. Perkins (Audio book)
&13. Starving Jesus – Craig Gross and J. R. Mahon
&14. Through Painted Deserts – Donald Miller
&15. The Barbarian Way – Erwin Raphael McManus
&16. The Shack – William P. Young (Audio book)
&17. Radical – David Platt
&18. Crazy Love – Francis Chan (Audio book)
&19. Chasing Daylight – Erwin Raphael McManus
&20. Bo’s Café – John Lynch, Bill Thrall & Bruce McNicol
&21. Economy of Love – Darin Petersen & Shane Claiborne (3 readings)
&22. The Christian Atheist – Craig Groeschel
&23. Plan B – Pete Wilson
&24. Choosing to SEE – Mary Beth Chapman
&25. Under the Overpass – Mike Yankoski
&26. Sun Stand Still – Steven Furtick
&27. Jesus in the Margins – Rick McKinley
&28. The Best Question Ever – Andy Stanley
&29. Big God – Brett Merrick
&30. The Church Awakening – Charles Swindoll
&31. Reluctant Pilgrim – Enuma Okora
&32. New Monasticism – Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

Are you okay with this?

"The event was timed to coincide with World AIDS Day, and we watched a video documenting the devastating effects of AIDS. Eight thousand people will die from AIDS today. Then, after all the stories and numbers and faces, the documentary posed this question: "Are you okay with this?"

United Nations health and food organizations calculate that twenty-five thousand people throughout the developing world die every day from starvation and malnutrition. Are you okay with this? There are a hundred thirty thousand children up for adoption at any given time in the United States, and millions more children worldwide are without families. Are you okay with this? A child dies from drinking contaminated water every twenty-one seconds. Are you okay with this? That question can be and must be asked of all suffering and every injustice. Are you okay with this?

Most of us are okay with it. And we're okay with it simply because it's an issue without a name or a face. We've never held someone who is starving to death. No one in our family has needlessly died from contaminated water. We don't know anybody who has been kidnapped and sold into slavery. And none of our family member sleeps on the streets. But once the issue has a name and a face, it changes everything, doesn't it? God knows each of those names. God knows each of those faces. And it breaks His heart.

So let me ask the question: are you okay with this?

If you are in Christ and Christ is in you, you cannot be okay with suffering or injustice or starvation. Why? Because His heart is in you. And His heart beats for the suffering, the victim, the poor, and the needy."

- Mark Batterson, Primal

Thursday, January 6, 2011

God Given Talent(s)

I almost didn't find the email to join. Thank goodness I did. It was buried with emails that were advertisements.
Yesterday I read a brief article talking about denying our God given talents and how that causes problems for us like obesity, depression, etc. The article stated that each and everyone of us has a God given set of talents and a path to walk and bless others with those talents. The key to happiness is to embrace what God has given us and use it to benefit others. Problems arise when we deny our talents or don't ever find them. For every talent there is a task. Do we know what our talents are? Are we willing to find and develop new ones as well as use the old ones? How can we use these to glorify God?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Just Do It! (No "Swoosh" Necessary)

It's 2011! What are you doing to make a difference in your life and in the lives of the people in your community (local and global)? Is there something preventing you from doing the next right thing that will bring about significant change? It's time to join the journey (parade of life) and stop spectating!

Here are some great words of encouragement from CatalystSpace|Catablog:
What is on your heart to do? What has God gifted you to do? What unique vision has He given you?
Don't just sit there, do it.
When He gives you something to do, it's probably not just for you. God delights in using different parts of the body to bless/teach/correct/balance the other parts. So by you sitting on the bench & not doing what He's put on your heart, you're actually depriving the rest of us of the blessing.
So for God's sake, and for the Body ... do it.

Donald Miller writes:
It’s a wonderful, true story about how much better life is when we participate. If you’ve not made a resolution yet in 2011, make this one with me: I will not watch 2011, I will participate. 2011 is more than a new year, it’s the start of a new decade. Take some risks and live a great story this year, sacrifice for somebody else, and you’ll set the tone for the next ten years.

What's your response to the challenge? Spectate or Participate? FYI, there are some "parades" that do not allow spectators (thanks Bob Goff & family ~ see "No Spectators Allowed" video)!

Just Do It!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Holiness

I attended a Korean church this morning. (Thank goodness there was English translation provided through earphones!) I made notes of some good points. The pastor said that there are two characters used for the word "together" -- one meaning "to add to" and the other meaning "belonging." We belong to each other. He went on to talk about striving for holiness in this new year. He asked, "What does holiness look like in our lives? How does it play out in our daily lives?" He answered that holiness is to understand others' painful situations and to do what we can to help them and to bring them relief. It is not about us -- it is about showing love to others.

Relational Tithe

Weird ?