Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chester on getting to know your neighborhood...

Tim Chester is asking some good missional questions in order to understand your neighborhood:
Where are the missional spaces (places and activities where you meet people)?
Where do they experience community?
Are their existing social networks with which we can engage or do we need to find ways of creating community within a neighbourhood?
Where should you be to have missional opportunities?

When are the missional moments?
What are the rhythms of your neighbourhood?
How do people organise their time?
What cultural experiences and celebration do people value? How might these be used as bridges to the gospel?
When should you be available to have missional opportunities?

What are peoples’ fears, hopes and hurts?
What ‘gospel’ stories are told in the neighbourhood? What gives people identity (creation)? How do they account for what what’s wrong with the world (fall)? What’s the solution (redemption)? What are their hopes (consummation)?
What are the barriers beliefs or assumptions cause people to dismiss the gospel?
What sins will the gospel first confront and heal for these people?
In what ways are people self-righteous?
What is the good news for people in this neighbourhood?
What will church look like for people in this neighbourhood?

Trying patiently to go at His pace....

Good words from Piper...just what I needed today:
"Impatience is a form of unbelief.  It's what we begin to feel when we start to doubt the wisdom of God's timing or the goodness of God's guidance.  It springs up in our hearts when our plan is interrupted or shattered.  It may be prompted by a long wait in a checkout line or a sudden blow that knocks out half our dreams.  The opposite of impatience is not a glib denial of loss.  It's a deepening, ripening, peaceful willingness to wait for God in the unplanned place of obedience--to wait in his place, and go at his pace."
Future Grace, 171.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I need to start my days like this...

From Pastor Scotty Smith's blog:
Most gracious Father, I dare not take on today's agenda without immersing my heart in the extraordinary good news and supply of the gospel.  For I already feel a busy cluttered-spirit rearing its ugly head inside of me... wrangling over everything I need to get done and everyone I need to see.  The control-meister in me is plotting orphan-like strategies just to make it through today.  In short, I really need the gospel today. 
Read the rest here.  

Monday, April 5, 2010

Addendum to "Am I Sick If I Like Stuff Like This?"

This is an addendum to my post, "Am I Sick If I Like Stuff Like This?"

I think Godawa is doing exactly what Flannery O'Connor does in her fiction.  She writes,
"The novelist with Christian concerns will find in modern life distortions which are repugnant to him, and his problem will be to make these appear as distortions to an audience which is used to seeing them as natural; and he may well be forced to take ever more violent means to get his vision across to this hostile audience.... [Y]ou have to make your vision apparent by shock -- to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures."
[qtd. in Flannery O'Connor & the Christ-Haunted South]

Vintage Chesterton

I've been reading Ralph Wood's biography / analysis of Flannery O'Connor, called, Flannery O'Connor & the Christ-Haunted South, and I came across this quote from GK Chesterton.
"If there were no God, there would be no atheists."
Pretty true if you stop to think about it.
Vintage Chesterton.

[Btw, the book on O'Connor is excellent, and I would commend it and all things O'Connor to my friends of literature and for anyone who has come into contact with Christianity in the south in the West.]

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

From NT Wright's Following Jesus:
Without Easter, Calvary was just another political execution of a failed Messiah.

Without Easter, the world is trapped between the shoulder shrug of the cynic, the fantasy of the escapist, and the tanks of the the tyrant.

Without Easter, there is no reason to suppose that good will triumph over evil, that love will win over hatred, that life will win over death.

But with Easter we have hope; because hope depends on love; and love has become human and has died, and is no alive for evermore, and holds the keys of Death and Hades. It is because of him that we know--we don't just hope, we know--that God will wipe away all tears from all eyes.

And in that knowledge we find ourselves to be Sunday people, called to live in a world of Fridays.

In that knowledge we know ourselves to be Easter people, called to minister to a world full of Calvary's. In that knowledge we find that the hand that dries our tears passes the cloth on to us, and bids us to follow him, to go to dry one another's tears.

The Lamb calls us to follow him wherever he goes; into the dark places of the world, the dark places of our hearts, the places where tears blot out the sunlight....and he bids us shine his morning light into the darkness, and share his ministry of wiping away the tears.

And as we worship, and adore, and follow the lamb, we join, already, in the song of Revelation 5.11-14, the song that one day the trees and the mountains and the whales and the waterfalls--the whole world, reborn on Easter morning--will sing with us:

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain...
to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength
and honour and glory and blessing!

To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honour and glory and power
forever and ever, Amen."

Saturday, April 3, 2010

It's just, "So long...until our paths cross again."

On Thursday we said Goodbye to our dear friends, the Doud's.  We already miss them.  It feels weird to be here without them.  We keep telling ourselves that they are just on vacation and will be back in a few weeks.

Click here to read my wife's blog post on saying goodbye.

We're going to miss the Doud's.  Shawn, you've been a great friend & brother to me, and you are one of a handful of people that I know are truly in my corner & have my back.