Monday, April 30, 2012
1. This weekend, (May 6) I'm preaching at both the WHY Church (at the Elk River YMCA, 10 am worship on Sunday morning) and the Gathering (at Central Lutheran, 6 pm Sunday evening) about the address to the church in Pergamum in Revelation 2. Basically we're going to dig into the question, how do you follow Jesus in a world opposed to Christianity?
2. Starting the week of May 7, I'll be teaching a 5-week introduction to the book of Revelation. This runs concurrent with our 7-week sermon series on the seven churches in Revelation 2-3. You can choose either Monday evening, 7-8:30 pm, or Thursday morning, 10:30-noon. We'll be looking at the historical setting of the book, its sometimes mystifying symbolism, and what it means for Christians today. Going to be a fun class!
3. The evening of May 11th, 6:30-8 pm, join our Philippines Flight Crew GAT team -- come see pictures and hear stories of our trip to the Philippines. We thought the trip was done, but this weekend I met a man who is considering relocating to the Philippines specifically to help Protestant churches develop Alpha. So that is a very exciting possibility!
4. Our pastorate leaders are meeting this evening to celebrate what God has been doing in the launch of these groups. I'm thinking, talking, and praying about how we can best support these key leaders in their work. What kind of study, prayer, conversation, and support will be most helpful?
5. Lots of others, but those are the key things that are taking my time and effort at work right now.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
1. Meeting regularly -- as I said, twice a month.
2. Word and sacrament -- each pastorate at Central will spend their first year digging into the gospel of Mark. Pastorates will share communion on a regular basis as they meet, and as the need arises, we anticipate baptisms will be done in the pastorates as well.
3. Multiplication -- pastorates are not static groups, but dynamic, growing groups. As new people come in, either from the body of Christ at Central or through individual invitations, pastorates will train up new leaders and give birth to new groups.
4. Missional -- pastorates will find creative ways to give their lives away, maybe through a partnership with ministries across the world or maybe by adopting a cause or ministry in our own community.
Last night we had the privilege of sitting in on our first pastorate get-together. I realized as I talked, ate, laughed, listened, and prayed, that I was delighted with the experience on two distinct levels.
First, as a pastor, I have been studying, praying, advocating, and laying foundations for pastorates since 2006. What fun to see this movement coming to fruition! On this level I watched the first beginnings of a bond forming within the group last night and could not help the silly grin that dominated my face all night. What joy to see believers in 2012 acting, talking, and looking so much like Acts 2:42-47!
Second, as a human being, last night's gathering felt like coming home. Several people talked in our pastorate about their desire for an extended family, and that's exactly what it felt like. Or more accurately, it felt like it has a ton of potential to grow into an extended family. I am so excited to live into this experience, to grow into these relationships, to be part of this way of being church together.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
So today, the 46th anniversary of my first glimpse of this world, I was simply enjoying all the smiles and Facebook happy wishes, and ignoring another year gone by. Not in denial, but not really engaging the whole birthday thing either.
At Central, at 9 am each morning Monday through Thursday, our staff meets to read the Daily Texts and to pray together. I have noticed that God frequently has a sense of humor in the way the Daily Texts (one verse of scripture from the Old Testament and one from the New) seem to connect with the business of the day.
Today was no exception.
Here are today's verses and prayer, chosen at random by a group of Moravians, for my 46th birthday:
Today's Old Testament Verse
Do not cast me off in the time of old age; do not forsake me when my strength is spent.
Today's New Testament Verse
Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 4:16
Thank you, Lord, that with my earthly tent failing, you still revive my spirits. I’m sorry that I cannot let go of old expectations. Trusting that you make all things new, I ask you to release me into a new beginning today and show me what I can do. Renew my inmost being with your Spirit. Amen.
Who says God has no sense of humor? Surely not me.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Thursday, April 19, 2012
May God bless you with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.
May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.
May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.
May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you really CAN make a difference in this world, so that you are able, with God's grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.