Monday, December 29, 2008

A Glitch in the Plans

After working on the plans for the trip to Thailand, we discovered that we had overlooked one minor detail; however, we discovered that it really isn't all that minor to forget to make sure that all the passports are current.

Molly looked at hers Friday night, just hours before we were to leave on Saturday, and it was expired. Not a happy moment at the Buchan household as the ramifications for an expired passport sunk in. No passport, no trip. The four of us: Bill, Bonnie, Molly and myself gathered at the dinner table and tried to decide what to do. We were at an impasse.

We didn't actually decide the plan until the morning of our scheduled departure at noon. I came with a willingness to relinquish the trip, after feeling the night before that I couldn't let go of it because of how it would affect Heather. Bill came with a decision to bless Bonnie and I going, with an intent to try to move heaven and earth to get himself and Molly on the plane.

So, with just a little over an hour, Bonnie and I got ready to go. Everyone was upset, but I knew that this is one of those times when the Scripture says that "we can speak to a mountain and tell it go into the sea." I began to pray that verse in Mark 11, asking God to move a mountain that was caused by our negligence, but to have mercy on us because of the importance of this trip to our family.

I did not know until this morning that the people of Missio Lux also went to the Lord and asked him to move the mountain. I will always be grateful for their prayers. One woman organized a 24 hour prayer chain of people that willingly prayed for our family and for the passport agent who would make the decision whether our family trip happened or not.

I am excited about this on lots of levels: the first is that Molly got her passport and tomorrow Bill and Molly will be on the plane to meet us. We will get to be together and experience Asia as a family. The second reason I am grateful is the love that the people of Missio Lux showed us in making this a priority in their lives. The last and very important reason I am thrilled is that we are discovering the correlation between prayer and God's willingness to intervene in situations; even those that aren't life or death matters, but do determine our level of well being and happiness.

God isn't a God who stands apart; no, he is Immanual.
God in flesh, amongst us.
In the messiness and forgetfulness of life.
I am forever grateful to be his follower!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Leaving for Thailand

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 26th

We are leaving for Thailand tomorrow! I can't believe it is finally here, we have been dreaming, talking, planning for over a year for this trip. Our daughter, Heather, is spending 9 months going around the world, just a little over halfway done. So, we are meeting her and her friend, Toriann, in Bankok, after our 24 hour trip to join them.

What are my dreams for this trip?

First, for family memories that will be etched in our hearts and minds for the rest of our lives.

For, rest....Bill and I have had a pretty big year, so we'd love some downtime.

To experience a part of the world that is very different than Seattle, WA!

One of my dreams is that God would show us a specific way that we can make a small dent in the sea of human trafficking. I don't know how that can happen, but it is my prayer, that he will be so clear in his direction that we just can't miss the opportunity.

I will let you know what happens.....

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Messy Christmas Story

Last night we celebrated Christmas Eve and it was messy. We had to change locations due to the continual snow storm in Seattle. Everyone had a hard time getting to the destination; it was fun but crowded, it was all the messiness of life.

I spoke about how God allowed the first Christmas to be really messy so that we would know that we don't have to clean up our act to be in relationship with God. He wants to join us in the messiness of our real lives...holding nothing back! We ended up each taking a balloon, writing the "messy situation" that we wanted to give to him to dwell with us in, and then tying it to the manger or even the Baby King, until it looked like a great birthday celebration for the King!

The amazing thing about God is that he never just lets us talk about "his themes," he lets us experience them in real life. So, if I talk about messy, messy I get.

I was up in the middle of the night and our dog came out and threw up all over the kitchen floor, right in front of me. I was gagging and trying to clean it up and being really frustrated I was up in the middle of Christmas night cleaning up vomit, when I remembered that Jesus is with us in the messiness of our lives. And, literally it was if he was standing right there with me. It almost made cleaning up dog throw up pleasurable, well, maybe not pleasurable but a whole lot more meaningful.

Where are you in the midst of the messy in your life?
How are you positioned?
Are you experiencing Jesus, knowing how much he is delighted to be invited into our messes? He may not always fix them, but he is always present with us.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

God's Unwrapping for Christmas

Christmas Day. What was it really like on the first Christmas?

Do you ever wonder what Mary was thinking? After the Angel gave her the announcement that she was to birth the long anticipated Messiah of the Jewish people, do you think that she expected it to look the way it did?

Even the ones who got the announcement were the most unlikely receivers to the message of Jesus birth. The shepherds in Jesus day were considered the “disenfranchised” of our day. They were often criminals, homeless, estranged from family, unable to do anything else. Let’s just put it this way, becoming a shepherd was not what every Jewish parent longed for their child to become.

So, back to Mary. As she sat there, realizing how alone she was, and how “regular” Jesus’ birth was, did she get discouraged or did she understand that God often does his best work in secret?

God has this unique way of keeping his best work secret until it’s his timing to let the world know about it. Sometimes that includes us as he is working to prepare us for his “purpose in us to be fulfilled.” I didn’t have any idea when I was in college that I would end up becoming a pastor and that this calling would fulfill my deepest dreams above all else. I didn’t expect to be planting Missio Lux either; another surprise opened up to me in God’s specific timing!

He has this plan for you too.

How many times have you thought that your life is ordinary and your purpose is unexciting and unfulfilling.
How many times have you gotten up with the expectation that you just want to get through this day?
It’s easy to go there when life begins to feel ordinary and hard to remember that God’s specific purpose for us in anything but ordinary, it’s extraordinary and will change the world.

God is always ready to do this part, but what is our part?

Are we asking him, “What did you create me to do?” and believing that he has answer?
Are we going about our days watching for the God surprises and thanking him when we see one?
Are we in a community of people that is encouraging us to “go for it”
Are we willing to tell people what God is doing, even if it feels scary or prideful or humbling?
Are we willing to make the adjustments that come with receiving a “revelation of his purpose?”

2009 is fast approaching. New Year’s is one of the best points in the calendar to make adjustments in our lives, those resolutions can literally change our life direction if we keep unwrapping God’s gift to us by living into the questions above.

I urge you to take some time between today and New Year’s Day to reflect upon that dream that you have either buried or are keeping on life supports. Ask the Lord to bring it back to life and then begin to live each day with the expectancy that God has given you a unique dream and that 2009 will be a significant year as it begins to unwrap and become reality in your life.

Phil 2:13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Keep watching and standing on this promise in Philippians, he is acting on what he has already decided to bring forth his good purpose, his unique and amazing, purpose in you!



Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Missio Lux

Christmas Missio Lux was designed to three strategic outreaches on Saturday, December 21st but the weather had other plans. Seattle has had more snow in the past week than in the past 30 years, practically combined. It is almost a foot deep at our house.

Saturday was a bit of break in the weather, but only until evening! So, Bill and I made the trek along with several others into the city to feed breakfast to a grateful crowd of cold and hungry people. It wasn't our usual scheduled day for the breakfast, so the guests were more grateful than usual.

My time there didn't start out so great. I went to sit by a woman that was eating alone. She immediately jumped up and started yelling me, calling me some rather colorful names! The next man I tried to speak to started backing up when he saw me. But, I persevered and ended up having some very meaningful experiences as I sought to serve the guests as if they were Jesus himself.

The most moving experience to me was pouring coffe for a table full of men. These men were unusual because they were actually friends, and were sitting together in community. Many homeless people sit alone; preferring their space to the friendship of others. I was so joyful as I poured their coffee, refilled the pot and poured again.

It felt like I was serving the king himself!

I was able to connect with Angela: she asked if she could come again and serve. She had just lost her job at the newspaper and knew that to sit around her empty apartment was destructive for her. She got right up and started clearing the tables. We were able to pray for her unemployment as well as a friend she was worried about because she hadn't seen her since the cold spell.

I was able to reconnect with Tom. He is a rather put together young man who has a father that is a pastor, so he knows about faith but is struggling to believe in God's love for him. I told him that we would pray for him over the Christmas days as they are about the hardest days of the year for those who are estranged from their family.

I ended up with Sarah, who looked very classy. She was also extremely bright as I conversed with her. She seemed an unlikely candidate for homelessness, but when I asked her about it, once again she was estranged from her family so the safety net that is present for many, was missing for her. She is considering starting a Bible Study at the YWCA and wants to become an administrative assistant.

We had to cancel our other outreaches Saturday. The storm moved in, but I will always cherish the memories I took away from my time at the breakfast. I was much more filled than they as I served the King....

Matthew 25:37-40:
"Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty and helped you?"
The King will reply: "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Missio Lux Prayer Team

I've always dreamed of being part of a church where the direction is given by Jesus himself.

No, listen, it's not as far fetched as you would think. I have been on numerous church staffs over the past 18 years, as well as ministry teams. Often, plans are made without even a prayer. If there is prayer; often it is asking God to bless what we have decided. I have done ministry this way too. This type of ministry makes small advances, but what could happen if we aligned with God and his timing and direction?

I started a prayer team early on with Missio Lux, but I could quickly see that this is not the team that the Lord had chosen, so I let it drop to the ground (end).

This time is different. It is happening as I always dreamed. I began to know in my spirit that the Lord was calling a prayer team together. First, he pointed out who should lead it. I wrestled with the choice as the one he showed me was preparing to move. But, in faith and obedience, I asked her. She said, "Yes." The Lord had prepared her to receive the call by desiring a prayer team like I am describing. And, shortly after she said yes, they found out, surprise!, that they weren't moving.

We have been meeting at 5 a.m. on Tuesdays for the past several weeks to listen to the Lord for his direction. The first day we met, she received the clear instruction from Exodus to "build it according to the instructions that I give you."

We have been given bits and pieces of direction the past few weeks, but it must be time to move because today the Lord gave us so much specific direction, it left us spinning in expectation! He showed us who to invite, when to meet, how often to meet, how long we are to meet--nothing was left unclear.

Now, this newly called leader is making contact to those God identified. My prayer is that they will receive the call and consider it in God's eyes and plans; listening for his voice of direction.

I will keep you posted on what happens from here!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Gift of Wasting Time

Today it's snowing in Seattle!

This only happens once or twice per year, but it is extra special today because we are so close to Christmas. The timing is even better because today is my scheduled monthly prayer day. My daughter Bonnie had gotten up to go to her job as a nanny, but she was given the day off so we had the rare gift of "wasting time."

It is a gift to waste time in our culture. We are so scheduled and feel pressed up against the edge so often that when I have a chance to just watste time, it's like drinking from the best artisian spring!

What are some things I did today to waste time?

I watched my Bernese Mountain Dog who was created to pull sleds through snow frolic in the snow!
I savored the newspaper and finished the daily Suduko.
I hung out with Bonnie and looked at the pictures she is choosing for a book she is creating.
I kept looking out the window, watching the flakes come down!
I listened to the Josh Groban Christmas album.
I am blogging.....about "the gift of wasting time!"

I hope that today or at least some point before Christmas you give yourself the "gift of wasting time." It can help renew us faster than a speeding bullet.....

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Who Defines Us?

One of the greatest challenges for a Jesus follower is to maintain the truth about our identity.
How many times a day do we hear a message through media, our employers, those around us, or our own self talk that seeks to define us?
The messages can at times be positive, but just as often, they are negative and can begin to lead us into paths that are at cross purposes for God’s plans for us.

God’s plan for us was magnificent! He created us in his image so we could share in bringing forth his plans and purposes for the earth.


Listen to some of the ways that God speaks to our Identity:

You are God’s beloved child
You are loved perfectly by your Heavenly Father
You are Jesus’ friend
You are salt and light in the world
You are member of the Body of Christ
You are created in the Image of God
You are free forever from condemnation
You are chosen and appointed to bear fruit
You are given access to the throne of Grace to receive mercy and find grace
You are adopted into God’s family
You are given freedom to approach God with freedom and confidence
You are set free by the sacrifice of the Lamb
You are a Jar of Clay holding the Living Water
You are the temple of the Holy Spirit
You are seated with Christ in the Heavenly Realms
You cannot be separated by the Love of God

Take some time each day to meditate on the reality of Who God says YOU ARE!
When we follow his instructions to “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” it is much easier to go through the day being connected to the One who loves us dearly and to step into his specific purpose for our lives.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Missio Lux Divine Appt

This is a great story of how God works in Missio Lux: (written by a seminary student in Missio Lux)

"I had the weirdest experience this morning. I was dead tired because I was up until 2am working on my paper/test - I dropped the kids off at school and hadn't eaten, done my hair or makeup but I felt strongly I should go anyway to the Outlet Mall in North Bend to the Children's Place Store- for some weird reason.

When I got there I was so excited because Dave's Group at work adopted a family for Christmas and the nine year old only wanted pants and a shirt for Christmas -- and Children's Place had TONS of cute stuff for under $2.99 -pants, tops, skorts, shoes- Some stuff was 99cents. (Yes, it was one of those divine shopping moments - ah.) So for less than a pair of pants and top I had so much fun buying this little girl a whole new wardrobe- shoes and all.

But here is the good part - when I was buying it the lady working there said that she thinks her kids would benefit from serving others and she wishes she could take them to a soup kitchen. I told her about Compass Center on the 20th and she said they are definitely coming. She has five kids - oldest in High School. Turns out they live in Fall City."


Fall City is where one of our Missio Communities are starting. The dream is to come alongside the food bank and serve a breakfast a couple of times a month for those who come to the foodbank, this way, it can go beyond physical food to the nourishment of emotional connection and friendship.

People are starving for ways to live beyond themselves, and God is busy bringing about his purposes of sharing his love with the people he delighted to create! His ways are mysterious but never boring!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Definition of Success

Walt Kaalstad was a very successful pastor in the realm of Evangelicalism at Community Church of Joy when he had a heart attack. Before the heart attack, he had a mega-church with great worship, great preaching and big numbers of people. Life was great, or so he thought, until God slowed him down enough to re-evaluate what "success" truly is.

During his recovery, he realized that even though large numbers of people showed up enthusiastically each Sunday morning, little was being transformed in their lives and in their community.

Jesus showed him that his definition of success is "one changed life and empowered disciple at a time."

That changes things doesn't it? In Jesus' economy, one life transformed into a faithful Jesus follower is worth a sanctuary filled with 10,000 people. That does turn things upside down, doesn't it?

When Walt came back to work, he shared his thoughts with his board. Thankfully, they came along. The next thing they did was to let go of all their professional musicians and replace them with unpaid worship leaders. These worship leaders may not have been the best musically but they were connected to the heavenlies enough to help others experience God's presence.

Immediately, approximately 20-25% of the congregation left the church. Some Sunday mornings Walt would look out on the empty seats and began to count them, and he would hear Jesus say to him, "You are dishonoring me right now. Worship me. Enter into my presence. It's about me, not attendance figures."

The church began to move out. They began to create communities that mattered in their city. One group started the Taco Church: they would meet in a local taco stand and invite their neighbors to join them as they met for worship, Bible Study and prayer. These ideas began to multiply and move out in rapid waves.

Walt learned that successful leadership for this time and place means that "We must die as a church and be reborn as a mission."

Another story of how God is moving his church to new ways for such a time as this. I can't wait to look around in a few years and see all that he is doing.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Jesus Reached Down

One morning a few days ago, Jesus met me and the new vision of himself that he gave me has not faded one bit, it continues to reach out and grab my heart and encourage me to keep moving forward as I am not alone, he is with me.

Psalm 121 is a familiar psalm, but with understanding two of the key words better, it's changed the impact considerably:

I will lift up my eyes to the hills;

From where shall my Help come?

My Help comes from the LORD,

Who created heaven and earth.

The word "help" is called "ezer" in Hebrew. This is the same word that is used in Genesis where God created Eve and called her Adam's "ezer" help. Many have translated this role to be an inferior position to Adam, but the reality is that Eve brings the supernatural, compaionship help that is equal to the creation of the universe. This isn't inferior help in my opinion!

We have Jesus as our "help" as he comes alongside us as our companion, but not in a weak sense, he brings the supernatural power that created the universe. So, there it is, it's a relational help but also one that is is mighty to transform.

The LORD will Keep you from all evil;

He will keep your life.

The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.

The second key word "Keep" is one that means "guard, protect, and watch over." Imagine the reality that we have Jesus with us every moment standing guard, protecting and watching over us just as a new parent watches over their newborn.

Our daughter Heather is on a 9 month journey around the world. It's given me great peace to think of Jesus being present with her guarding over and keeping her just as I did when she was first brought home from the hospital.

Knowing that Jesus is my ezer and that he keeps me from evil, protects my life and watches over every part of my day has given me great peace through this advent season. I find myself soaring in my spirit, being so thankful for every moment of the day because I sense his presence in a new and delightful way.

This is my prayer for each one of you who reads this blog toda; may the "ezer" Jesus touch you in new places of your life today, tomorrow and forever.

Friday, December 12, 2008

"Scrooge Lives"

Christianity Today published an article this month entitled: "Scrooge Lives." The context of the article is the giving patterns of American Christians, and the results are interesting and alarming at the same time.

Here are some of the facts from the article:

1 out of every four American Protestants giving nothing away.
27% of Evangelicals tithe
36% gives less than 2%
5% of American Christians give 60% of monies donated to churches
Donors do not trust how their money is used
3% of all monies given to churches are used to minister to non-Christians
The biggest reason that Christians don't give is that they aren't asked

I wonder what Jesus would say if he were here today.

Would he be pleased that a handful of people are supporting over half the work?
Would he be pleased that despite being the wealthiest nation in the world, some of us don't give anything away?
How would he feel about only 3% being used to reach the sheep outside the sheepfold?

No wonder the Spirit is blowing in a new direction. By bringing us into smaller venues that can be done at little or no expense and giving ownership to the funds to the people who are serving, the doors are opening up to think about giving in a new way.

I am so grateful that Missio Lux has moved this direction. Perhaps in 10 years, I will be writing a different blog, one that states that 95% of Jesus followers are giving generously, that the majority of the gifts are going to reach out to serve the world beyond us, and that we trust where our funds are going because we are the ones making the decisions. That's my dream, for which we will continue to move intentionally towards making a reality.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

God Unwraps His Best Kept Secret

Sunday at the Missio Lux Celebration we explored the idea that God holds some of his best work in secret.

We looked at Jesus and his birth, recognizing that although the Jewish people had waited close to 500 years for any Word from God, when it was God's timing, he had Jesus be born in a remote village far from his friends and family and far away from the temple and center of spiritual activity in a stable with smelly animals. The only people that God chose to show the "secret of Jesus" to were shepherds, today's homeless people.

We also explored the Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan. After nearly 20 years of wondering why they were spared when almost everyone around them died, it is coming clear that they were saved, so they, like Jesus, could help redeem their people and their villages by educating orphan children. Seeds of Hope structure is helping to make that happen, the secret is being unwrapped!

But, we also explored our sense of being God's secret ready to be unwrapped; here is part of what I said:

You are one of God’s best kept secrets as you have a specific purpose that you were created to live out.
Sometimes his purpose comes early in our lives, but very often, he keeps the purpose “hidden” until later in our lives.

Do you live in expectation that you have a purpose and that it will be life changing for those around you?


One of my favorite quotes is from Francis of Assissi: “Where your greatest passion and the world’s greatest needs meet, therein lies your vocation.”

Our vocation is our passion lived out in purpose. We often confuse our jobs with our vocation and it is spectacular when they are integrated, but for many of us they will be separate.

For many the question is: How will I ever find out my purpose?

It’s a challenge, but one that can be met with giving yourself the gift of time and solitude.
Taking some time to breathe (literally) and to reflect on those times in our life that brought us joy, an increased pulse and a beating heart are signs that we were intersecting with our passion. Journaling is an awesome way to reconnect to our heart and our passions.
Taking time to meditate on who God is and how he created you is another way to awaken your purpose.

Reflect on this Scripture:
Psalms 139:14-16:
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Consider this: take some time on or before New Years Day to think through your past year.
What did you take pleasure in?
What robbed life from you?
What do you want to change?
Write it down.
Begin to dream about what the next year could hold.
Write that down and then take it to someone that you trust and share it.
Sharing it will help you to take ownership of it and will give someone to encourage you to take the steps towards making room for God to unwrap his best secret in you.

I can't wait to see the "opened gift" of you!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Economic Challenges

Barna sent out an interesting study Monday. Barna tracks behavior trends in American Christians. This is part of what he said, "The giving patterns we are witnessing suggest that churches, alone, will receive some 3 to 5 billion dollars less than expected during the fourth quarter of 2008."

He continues "With a large share of congregants expecting the nation's economic woes to drag on for several years, it would be wise for churches and non-profits to reconfigure their financial models and plan to spend more cautiously over the coming two or three quarters."

This is the reality for the Church. The economy is already affecting giving dollars, but an even more serious issue is the giving patterns of American Christians. The days of loyal giving to a church budget are becoming seriously numbered. The younger people are the less likely they are to give to a budget. Dollars are given to causes and stories of individuals who grab a person's heart.

Missio Lux recognizes the reality of the giving trends, as well as the challenges of our economy. Part of the appeal of Missio Lux is the freedom in giving. Each Missio Community receives 75% of their tithes in an account that is available to use for carrying out their Missio! This frees up funds to help alleviate the challenge of fund raising, it also gives ownership for what each community is doing, rather than going to the leaders of a church asking them to fund their passion.

I feel for the Church. Oftentimes the only option to reduce expenses is to cut staff. This is an incredibly painful move that reverberates throughout the entire church: people, leaders, staff. It also grabs valuable energy away from our true focus: reaching out to show the world that Jesus loves them.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Missio Lux Multiplies

One of the most amazing things about the structure of Missio Lux is that it is not bound by geography. It has the ability to pop up anywhere because it is moved through grass roots, it is simple, inexpensive to start and easy to maintain! It also has the power and potential to change the world as people live into their purpose God created within them.

A few years ago, I got a picture of God blowing a dried dandelion. He held the bulb of seeds and blew it so the seeds went everywhere. I believe this was a picture for the future of Missio Lux. The seeds don't fall in uniform fashion, they fall randomly and even blow away to far away places.

Last week I was in Denver, and the seeds are falling! Many people are interested in starting a Missio Community with different missio focuses. The response of 90 people coming to hear Arok Garang talk about Seeds of Hope helped to create seeds of hope in me that God was at work and will bring forth his desired purposes for his precious Sudanese children.

I met with another woman who has a dream for seeing women being able to minister in their gifts and calling,but she understands how difficult it is to to get an official minstry position in a church. She sees the potential of Missio Communities opening wide the door for the kingdom to expand.

Another person has a dream of starting a missio community in Canada. She's arranging to have the training during Christmas vacation when a member of our training team goes to celebrate Christmas at her house!

I met with someone before I left for Thanksgiving who dreams of starting a missio community with art as their healing focus.

The possibilities are endless! My expectation for the amazing way that God is working only grows as the seeds are planted each and every day.....

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Seeds of Hope in Denver

Last night it became clear that the timing of God's purpose for the Lost Boys is now!
We held an event in Denver to introduce our Sudanese brother, Arok Garang, the second Lost boy to help the village of Palliu to get their children to school.

Arok lives in Denver. He came here straight from the Kakuma Refugee Camp in 2001. He is very intelligent and articulate. He graduated from Colorado University in May of 2008 with a degree of economics. He hopes to get a masters degree in agriculture so that he can go back to his village with skills that will help rebuild that which was decimated in the late 80's from the Janjiweed, and forced him with 15,000 to trek through Africa for over 1,000 miles.

His story must be told that so that hearts and people are moved with compassion to come alongside Arok and help fund the education of the approximately 80 kids from he and John Kher's village.

We expected about 35 people to show up. But The Hub, a local newspaper, did an article on John and the church we held it told us that people had been calling for the past two days saying they wanted to attend. Unbelievably, the room filled up with 90 People! They all came, eager to hear Arok's story and many took next steps. They gave money, they committed to join the Denver Seeds of Hope Missio Community, they offered to connect Arok to their sphere's of influence, and they offered their services which were varied and significant.

It was really overwhelming, and yet I knew, that just as Jesus had a specific time to come to earth, God hidden as a baby, John and Arok and the other Lost Boys, have almost been hidden until NOW! Now, is the time....now is when God says go! It's time to get those kids to school, rather than languishing in a forsaken, desolute village, wondering when they will get to eat next.

My dream is to see one village after another rebuilt with Sudanese people, the very ones that have suffered beyond any suffering I can imagine, because they are the solution and they are the ones that God has appointed for such a time as this.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Reality of the Rice Dinner

I couldn't go to sleep last night because I felt so joyful!
The rice dinner ended up being more than I could have anticipated.

It started out with our 10 and 8 year old neighbors, Cassie and Sydney, collecting the food from the neighbors. They brought it all over to our house so that everyone who came for the dinner would be able to see all that they accumulated. They spent hours sorting and counting and sorting and counting. They made a thermometer to track the progress, and got excited every time a neighbor dropped off another bag or two. We made it to almost 600, with promises of more on the way!

I've always dreamed of having a neighborhood like this, where we feel comfortable walking into one another's homes because we are that comfortable with one another.

I've dreamed of seeing kids know that they have a chance to make a difference in the world, and at one point Sydney said, "Tamara, I know you asked us to do this, but I am glad that I did it because I like to serve people." (This makes my heart soar and makes all the work of getting to this point worth it.)

The best part, however, was when everyone started to arrive. About half of the 50ish number of kids and parents were from Missio Lux and about half from the neighborhood. When they sat down to eat, they ate with one another and discussed the specific country they were given to explore that experiences extreme hunger, making new connections and friendships.

I realized when everyone left that I had been able to accomplish for a brief time what I dream of doing, helping people come together for a reason bigger than ourselves and breaking down the barriers that exist between those who pursue Jesus and those who currently don't. I know this: that when we reach out to serve it awakens the heart of God within all of us!

I can't wait until next year to eat that delicious rice for dinner.....

Friday, November 21, 2008

Rice Dinner Challenge

Saturday night missional families are gathering at our home to intentionally identify with the significant number of the world who go to bed hungry every night of their lives.

We are gathering to have a simple bowl of rice, and a cup of green tea. As we gather, we will consider the different countries where hunger is a huge and growing issue. It's only going to get worse as we struggle with environmental issues, income issues, and an increasing earthly population.

But, hunger isn't just over there.... it is also in our own backyard. The local foodbank, Issaquah foodbank, is short of food already for this season. They have had significant shortages due to the economic downturn.

But, Missio Lux is doing their part!

We are challenging ourselves and our neighborhoods to collect 1,000 food items. . .this is an awesome opportunity for kids to get involved.

Our own missio community challenged our children, aged 10 to 2, to make a difference. So, they made up a flier, stapled it to paper bags, and went to every house in our neighborhood, asking them to participate and inviting them to the Rice Dinner!

They became very excited as they took their project on and in the meantime, their heart of compassion is being expanded. This is very important for children in this area who are confronted daily with rather extreme materialism from an affluent culture.

It will be fun to see how people respond. However it goes, the ripple effect makes it bigger than what we can ever see.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Seeds of Hope Plants Seeds in Denver

Next week I am going to Denver. I grew up in Denver and then our family lived there for 18 years before moving to Seattle. I am thrilled that I know so many people in Denver because God has work for Missio Lux to do in this city.

A wonderful woman named Kim Johnson has agreed to partner with our Sudanese brother, Arok Garang, to help connect him to opportunities to tell his story of being a Lost Boy, but now also being a young man with a very important purpose.

His purpose, along with John Kher's in Seattle, is to get his village children to school. Arok put 16 kids in school last May believing that God would provide all that they needed. I met Arok in June and we decided to include him and the children he is overseeing as part of our Seeds of Hope Project.

God is at work. Next Tuesday, November 25th, we are holding a gathering for people to meet Arok and hear his story. It's his first official speaking engagement, and the launch of his pursuit to engage partners for Seeds of Hope for the children in school.

Kim is doing a great job of finding opportunities for Arok to get the word out. He is invited to speak at a conference about Sudan in December, and a school has asked him to come and speak as they are donating their "Read-a-thon" money to Seeds of Hope!

This is just the beginning. . .God has big plans for opening wide the floodgates for Arok and John as they faithfully live out their purpose to transform their village by educating the children.



I will let you know how it goes on Tuesday night. If you are close to Denver, you are invited: just check the details at http://www.missiolux.org/!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Seeds of Hope Plants Seeds


Sunday Seeds of Hope put on a party! The purpose of the party was to make cards for the 34 children that are in school as a result of Missio Lux' Seeds of Hope project to provide an opportunity for Sudanese children to go to boarding school.

It was so inspiring to see the individuals faces of each child as we tucked cards into their specific card pocket that held their picture. It was also sobering to watch the video that contrasts the difference in the lives of those who are in boarding school in Kenya and those that are in the barren fields of Sudan tending cattle.

The children in school have faces that radiate hope. Education is hope in Africa, especially for the Sudanese who have only known war and suffering in their lifetime. The faces of those in the dusty cattle fields look burdened and hungry.

It is easy to feel so overwhelmed by the magnitude of suffering in our world. Because we live in such a globally connected world, we really can't escape hearing about it. At times it is immobilizing--it makes me want to throw up my hands in despair and hide under my covers.

But, looking into the faces of our Sudanese children in school makes me know that we are making a difference. We are planting seeds of hope not just to the indivual children whose lives will be radically transformed, but also for all of Sudan as we continue to work toward our goal of partnering with other Lost Boys across the US to help their village children go to school. My dream is to see Sudan be filled with healthy functioning villages because they have educated people who are bringing solution to the countries severe challenges.

But, for now, I will be content looking at the smiles of the children who are enjoying life at Roots Academy in Nakuru, Kenya!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Human Trafficking--Prayer First, part 2

All through the day on Friday, I continued to get emails saying, "I will take this time period if it is still open." Amazingly, everyone chose a different time until all of the opportunities to pray were filled. I knew at that point that God had a plan for our prayers and he would direct us very specifically as we prayed.

I signed up to pray at 4 a.m. This is an hour that seems very important between God and I. I often get to pray, being very thrilled by the ability to connect with God so easily. (I guess the distractions are at a very bare minimum, except for an occasional struggle to stay awake).

I was amazed at how easily I could move into prayer and pray alongside the Spirit's direction. The hour absolutely flew by so that I could hardly believe that my time was up. I was led very specifically to pray for the traffickers; that they would be convicted of their evil work and be led to a place of sorrow and into a relationship with Jesus. I was also led to pray that brothels were shut down in various places around the world. As I prayed, my faith grew in God's ability to do this as he partnered with people who pray!

I'd love to hear from others who prayed.
How did God lead you?
Was it a struggle to make it through your time period?
Did you sense a specific area for prayer that God will bring to you over and over until it is accomplished?

I know that as we put prayer first, God will use Missio Lux to shine light into very dark places in the world of slavery. May the world be much brighter in the days and years to come.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Human Trafficking--Prayer First!

Tonight at 7 p.m. Missio Lux is starting a 24 hour prayer vigil for Human Trafficking.

Individuals have committed themselves to pray for one hour each so that we have constant prayer being lifted to heaven for 24 straight hours.

Everything about human trafficking goes against how God created the universe and humanity. He created a world where people lived in peace with one another, God and the environment. Respect was always present, equality was the norm. God created Adam and Eve to be companions, nothing about their relationship involved hierarchy.

So, it totally goes against God's purposes for humanity when one person owns another. If it is prostitution, or child labor, or immigrant workers, all of it involves one person having ultimate control over another.

Prayer helps break down the strongholds that exist in human trafficking. Prayer can do the work to eradicate a brothel; it can free children that have been sold for food. Prayer can raise up abolitionists to work to eradicate the vast injustice of slavery. Prayer can change an entire country's mind and law about slavery.

Wilbur Wilberforce understood the spiritual principals involved to breakdown slavery. He brought people of different sphere's together: the government, business, education, family, the arts around his dining room table to inform and discuss the perils of slavery; to recognize the darkness it brought to their country.

He eventually gathered people from all different spheres together and got the king to read an edict stating that England was a Christian country. Within just a short time, slavery was voted to become illegal in their government.

How did this happen without a Civil War? Prayer. Strategic action. The heart of one man determined that there was something that he could do to make a difference.

This evening, through the night, and tomorrow, we will believe the same. We will believe that as we lift our prayers to the heavenly realm and recognize that Jesus meant it when he said that "he did not come to condemn the world, but that the world would be saved by him," that dents will be made in human trafficking, and that our dream of seeing it eradicated in our lifetime is realistic. The God who made the Universe just waits to partner with us to bring his Kingdom to earth.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

You Matter

It's easy to feel anonymous in the 21st century.

We get that message almost all day long as everything has become so automated that it is easy to miss the personal contact as we go through our day; to have a casual conversation with someone that crosses our path that gives us something to smile about through the rest of the day.

It's easy to feel anonymous in church too.

The mega-church model makes it easy to go and experience an excellent worship with all the bells and whistles, hear a top notch sermon from a well trained speaker, and to leave not talking to a soul because no one knows who you are. In fact, not being known makes it easy for people to move from one church to another because of the latest sermon topic or program made available.

All the while, we continue to be anonymous. Missio Lux will never have the state of the art worship equipment or a perfect service because our priority is to remember....that we matter. As we spend time with our Missio Community, we know we matter because we are in a place where we feel safe, valued and loved. We can be ourselves and recognize that doing life with others that we care about can be significantly more rewarding than a high tech worship service.

The thing is that if we don't show up for our community, it matters. The body isn't complete because everyone matters. We are missed. There's a hole, and it creates loss because Paul says that the body needs every part represented or it doesn't work to it's fullest potential.

This is how God designed us as people. He created us with a hole in our spirit that isn't complete until we connect with our Creator. He wants us to know as we walk through every day that every part of our life matters to him.

I love Psalm 139 because it speaks of how we matter to God. He is the One who creates us and then knows all about our day because we matter so much to him. Ps 139:17-18 says "How precious to me are your thoughts, Oh God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand."

God thinks about us all day long. He doesn't put us on an automated message when we call; he bends down and comes and lives life with us.
We are not alone. We matter.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Rice Dinner

Our family has a tradition that has become a community tradition.

We take a night close to Thanksgiving and eat rice for dinner. This helps us to be exposed to how much of the world lives; almost 50% of the world goes to bed hungry at night.

No one looks forward to the Rice Dinner. My family moans and groans, but they embrace it as a way to remember the many blessings that we have been given. Our neighborhood community is also embracing it and is helping to make it happen this year!

But, as a next step we are asking people to donate food to the foodbank. This is well timed as the Issaquah foodbank is struggling to keep up with the needs right now. Our plan is to go to each house in our neighborhood and leave a paper bag with the invitation to come to the Rice Dinner and to donate food for the foodbank.

The next step takes place as we take the food to the foodbank and help to put it on the shelves. This brings is home that there are children in our area that go to bed at night hungry.

I feel so strongly that we need to expose our children to life outside of our area. We live in a very affluent area and the pressure to "have things" starts at very early ages for children. Exposing kids to the greater way of life for the world helps to develop character and compassion in them and combats the "keep up with the Jone's mentality" that exists here.

Missio Lux is all about circles. The first circle is to be exposed to the reality of hunger in our world. The circle beyond that one is the invitation to "experience hunger" through the Rice Dinner. The next circle is to reach out and to collect food for the foodbank. The next circle is to go and stock the food we collected at the foodbank. Perhaps next year the expanding circle will be for several neighborhoods to come together to eat rice together and collect food for the foodbank!

It just makes me wonder if the next expanding circle will be God calling one of us to go and to help the poor around the world. It's always a lot bigger than it seems at first glance.

You are invited to join us for the Rice Dinner November 22nd at the Buchan house!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Morning After

As I listened to either the euphoric voices or the hugely disappointed voices of the election, I read a very insightful article this morning that helped to frame the signifcance of the election of Barack Obama as President-elect in the United States.

David Brooks, a syndicated columnist, writes: "Election day was a historic day because it marked the end of an economic era, a political era and a generational era all at once.

Economically, it marked the end of the Long Boom, which began in 1983.

Politically, it probably marked the end of converative dominance, which began in 1980.

Generationally, it marked the end of the baby-boomer supremacy, which began in 1968.
For the past 16 years, baby boomers who were formed by the tumult of the 1960's, occupied the White House.

(I would like to add, also, that it marked the end of a racial era, much sooner than most people in their wildest dreams thought it would happen.)

Last night, a member of the new generation became president-elect.

So, Election Day was not only a pivot, but became a confluence of pivots."

We have entered into new territory. It's going to be so interesting to see the shifts that take place; in many ways, I celebrate these new shifts. I especially see how God is specifically positioning Missio Lux to be a more culturally relevant way to walk with Jesus than in the traditional church. It is also a structure that will be able to adapt quickly, move organically, and travel light, so we can be available and prepared for when the crisis hits or the stock market drops.

Galatians 4:2 states, "But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under law; that we might receive the full rights of sonship.

I believe we are in another fullness of time, when the world is shifting so dramatically it makes our head spin; but it puts in a place where our eyes are open and looking for Jesus each and every day. We really can't do life right now without him.



Friday, October 31, 2008

You Matter~Human Trafficking

Imagine being one of the young girls sold into prostitution.
Or a young boy made to be a child war soldier.
Or, a part of an Indian family whose relative sells you so they can pay their daughter's dowery.

Would you be asking the question, "Do I matter? Do I matter to God? Do I matter to my family? Do I matter to the world?"

In the darkest of circumstances, it's easy to believe that we don't matter. The world tells us that is our truth. As horrific mistreatments occur, the mind goes blank and the emotions go numb. Life is something to be endured rather than lived.

But, I have to believe that even in the darkest of situations that Jesus is present giving hope. I have to believe that as the lost and defenseless of our world suffer, that Jesus is present suffering alongside. The Bible tells us that he came to earth so we would know that he identifies with our sufferings.

So, what is our part? Do we decide that the lost and the defenseless will be okay since Jesus is present with them? No!

We have been given invitation to partner with Jesus in bringing light and hope to the world.
As we partner with Jesus in prayer, we see strongholds broken down.
One exciting example of this in human trafficking happened at Seattle Pacific University. Students committed themselves to fast and pray for one month for God to move to bring freedom to those who are enslaved.

The fast ended on a Sunday. Everyone was curious to see what would happen. They didn't have to wait long. That very next day, Monday, the front page of the Seattle Times was about a sting operation that had been in investigation for many years that took place: they shut down a series of massage parlors and strip clubs, and arrested the owners!

This is Jesus saying, "I hear your prayers and I move in the midst of them."

Prayer. It's our opportunity to partner with Jesus and see the world become brighter with his light. It's our opportunity to help enslaved women, children, men and teens across the world know in action that they matter.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

One Life~You Matter

Sunday is our second Missio Lux Celebration that we hold one time per month, instead of a weekly worship service so we can free up our resources: time, finances and energy to love and serve the world in relationship with God and each another.

Our theme Sunday is "You Matter."
We are going to be telling stories of people whose lives matter. Come and join us and hear how God lets us know we matter in such extraodinary, surprising ways.

So, with "You Matter" on my radar screen, tonight I read a story of a 13 year old girl who made her life matter, even as she was confronted with death.

Karen Zacharias tells this story in her engaging book, "Where's Your Jesus Now?. . . examining how fear erodes our faith.

October 2006: the shooting rampage of the Amish schoolgirls. 10 of them, bound together by their feet for execution. If there was ever a time for fear, this was it! But, the oldest girl, Marian Fisher, only 13 years old, asked her killer to shoot her first. She did this in an attempt to save the lives of the other girls.

Think about this. She had the presence to care about the community around her before she cared about her own life. She made her life matter by literally standing in front of a bullet.

Do you ever wonder how you would respond?
When I was a small child, I used to think about how I would respond if men with guns burst into our church and went around the room asking if we were Christians.

What would I say?
Would I have the courage to say yes, knowing I would be shot?
I still think about it and wonder, "Would I have the courage to say yes?"

Marian Fisher, only 13 years old, had the courage. She knew life on a different plane than many of our American teens--one that knew that life often comes through dying.

Hmmm, someone said that before, who was that again? Oh yes, it's Jesus. He's the one who teaches us how to live well, so that one day we can know that our life matters. We matter. . . to him. . . to one another. . .to the world.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Meeting Mike Breen

Last week I was invited to a pastor's gathering with Mike Breen from www.3dministries.com

Mike came to Seattle last Spring and Missio Lux was able to spend an afternoon with him. He helped us immensely with believing that our dreams can be accomplished through the missio community model. His story is one of remarkable circumstances.

He was called to a small church parish in Sheffield, England, when the government officials shut down the local night club. When that happened, when the darkness was shut out, the light was able to shine brilliantly and people starting get saved right and left. Within 6 months, 500 new believers were added to God's family and the small church in Sheffield.

Amazingly, the nightclub became their church meeting place. They were growing rapidly in numbers and spiritual growth when Mike heard the Lord whisper, "What will you do if you can't meet in the nightclub anymore?"

Within a month, they found out that the nightclub was a fire hazard and was filled with asbestos. The fire department was shutting them down.

So, they did what any bright Jesus follower would do: they created missio communities! These were so successful that they began to have Celebrations with several of the communities, up to 5 per weekend.

Now, Mike Breen travels the world helping others get the vision of how we can go smaller to become bigger: bigger in mission, in heart, in community and in celebration. We can make an impact in the world through any community whose heart beats for Jesus and responds to his direction to live and serve the world.

I heard two things from Mike last week: first, that as a woman planter in the US, I have a hard calling--(I already knew that, but it is always good to get it confirmed~) but, secondly, that 30 church planters went to Europe and are seeing the Spirit of God move rapidly to raise up Missional Communities: up to 500 in 2 years!

Europe is further along on the post Christian spectrum than the US, but we are well on our way. I believe this election has helped increase our move toward the post, but it doesn't alarm me, it excited me because in this huge period of disequalibrium: financially, politically, socially, God comes to save.

It kind of reminds me of when Jesus slipped onto the earth, almost entirely unnoticed....except for the huge heavenly party that the shepherds were invited to attend.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mission of LIght to Occidental Park, part 3

This is hands down the best story of Occidental Park.

As I was praying the morning of the outreach, I felt like the Lord wanted a couple of us to go to the four corners of the park, plead the blood of Jesus over the entire area, and claim that the Square was off limits to the enemy. We did it first of all, and then got busy setting up.

Well, the Lord guided us well.

A man came through the line for food. His name was David. He was wearing a long, blue robe and had black fingernails. Other than that, he looked pretty normal. But, Scot ended up talking to David later, and found out that he was a devoted Satan worshipper that was there to win souls for the enemy.

Scot was a bit unnerved by their conversation, so we prayed and asked the Lord to bring David into his family that day. We prayed that David would "see the light!"

Some Russian evangelists were also present at the Outreach, and Tony gave an invitation. Amazingly, David came forward. He was crying. I stepped in front of him to pray for him, and I saw his pentegram necklace. I asked him to take it off. He did, and I put it in the trash. After the invitation was over, we were praying for him some more, and without being asked, he took off his robe. The robe went in the trash. He spent about an hour conversing with Scot, and it was then that he took off his final identification with Satan, his ring.

He kept saying, "I am in shock." He told us later that he thought that he would die when he came forward, that the enemy would kill him for his betrayal. Instead, he experienced the transformational love of Jesus, and stepped into the promise of "eternal life."

Scot and I met with David the next day. He told us then that when he came onto the Square, he didn't have his powers. He couldn't summon them up. He saw that he had an opportunity to go forward to Jesus, a window, and he moved in that window.

Why was this time different?

Jesus had us claim this territory for his purposes. The enemy can not penetrate when Jesus' followers declare that only the Lord's will is carried out. The Lord's Prayer calls heaven to earth when we pray, "thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." When we call forth heaven to earth, we are proclaiming the Kingdom of God is here. And, when we move in the kingdom of God, no one is too far from Jesus.

Just ask David.

Mission of LIght to Occidental Park, part 2



I met a couple of men who were pretty fun. . . they definitely left an impression on me.

The first one was a man who approached me as soon as I got out of my car. His name was Willie from Philly. He just arrived from Philly a few days ago. He immediately helped unloading, and when it was all set up, he took to one of the campstoves. He stayed there the whole afternoon, chatting with whomever was his partner for the moment. He conversed with Fred, with Judy, with Gary and with many others from Missio Lux, giving his story to all who would listen.

Once again, it isn't always what we bring in terms of food and clothing, but it is our listening ear that can be one of our greatest gifts. I always find that when I ask a disenfranchised person for their story, the only that stops them is an interuption, or my need to leave... they will talk for hours to anyone willing to give them the gift of listening.

Listening is really cheap financially! It doesn't take organization or large numbers, it only takes two ears and our presence, made all the sweeter by Jesus' love being poured out by the listener.

The second man that I kept encountering was Big Red. He was a very tall, thin man from Texas. He had red hair, hence the name. He came for prayer right away, asking that God would grant his desire for a rig so he could drive cross country. He wanted prayer another time, but he had taken his shirt off, so I had to insist that he put it back on before we prayed. When the band played, he was out dancing for joy. He was lots of fun to have at the party!



Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mission of Light to Occidental Park

It's always fun to tell the stories of what take place when an army of over 60 volunteers and hundreds of Seattle's poor and disenfranchised gather together in a public place to spend an afternoon enjoying one another and learning from one another.

One story involves two women that are homeless. We were just arriving when they walked up and asked if they could help. So, we instructed them in what to set up, as well as gave them first spot opportunity to serve food.

One woman is named Cynthia. She is 53, and has been homeless for a number of years. She told Laurie from Missio Lux about what she does at night. Her first desire is to be in a shelter, but they are often full. The shelters sometimes give a bus token to those that don't get beds, and this is why! There is a bus that goes from Seattle to Federal Way, it takes an hour and 10 minutes to arrive. The homeless can sleep on the bus on the way, get off at the destination, wait 20 minutes and then get back on for another hour and 10 minutes. They can do this all night long....one strategy to avoid being outside on a cold night. They call this bus, "the Motor Home for Homeless People."

The other woman was named Igune. She has been homeless for 15 years, and knows just about every other homeless person in Seattle. She greeted almost every single person that got food by their name. She was very proud of her nametag, making her one of the "official volunteers."

It's never just about what we do when we bring food, clothes, music, prayer and Jesus' word of hope. It's always so much bigger. Giving a homeless person a role, a job, an opportunity, gives them meaning, belonging, and importance.

I also always remember and celebrate that Jesus tells us in Matthew 25 that when we give someone a cold drink, a hot meal, clothes to wear, prayer for illness, we are doing it to Jesus.

Every person that came to Occidental Square on Sunday was Jesus as we reached out to love them.

What can be more significant?

Missio Lux, tell your stories, we want to hear them!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Weekend filled with Light

Missio Lux had a big weekend, and as I reflected on it, I realized that we lived up to our name, "Mission of Light."

We stepped into some hard places, but as we did, we invited Jesus to come and declare that the Kingdom of God has come, and in it, we can replace love for hatred, joy for despair and hope for hopefulness.

We started out Friday night attending the Human Trafficking film, "Call and Response." As I mentioned earlier, it wasn't easy to watch, the subject brings pain, despair and hopelessness to the surface. But, as we dialogued after the movie, and as we bring our prayers and our action to this large area, we are inviting Jesus to come and bring forth his ways, instead of the evil that exudes from every area of human trafficking.

Our dream is to have at least one Missio Community form from our highlighting of this issue.

God's plan is to partner with the Church to bring forth his purposes. Who can think of a better way to partner with God than to see human trafficking eradicated in our live time?

Sunday we gathered at Occidental Square to bring Jesus' presence to the poor and disenfranchised of Seattle. We were much more prepared this time, and instead of one BBQ, we brought several camping stoves to heat up lovingly pre-prepared spaghetti. We were able to serve 100's in just over 2 hours.

We also brought music, the international language of hope. We brought prayer, a pathway to experiencing God's love and healing. We brought clothes, boxes and boxes and boxes of clothes; enough to fill an entire area.

It was thrilling to watch the community come forth for their meal and then pick out the clothing items they needed. It was even more thrilling to experience their joy in the offerings.

There are so many stories that I am going to write about them for a few days~as I savor the amazing oppportunity to shine Christ's light into the dark places of our city!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Election

Do you know who you are going to vote for?

I don't usually talk about politics because it can be such a dividing issue among people, but lately I've been asking a lot of people if they know what they are going to do. I sometimes hear a clear definitive answer, but just as often, I hear "I don't know." Their "I don't knows" are usually followed by a frustration over how the campaigns have gone, the continual bashing of the other candidate, or complete cynacism over all the corruption that continues to be uncovered in one administration or another.

I feel a frustration over the lack of dialogue of the US presence in the world. I just read a provactive and timely book called "The Way of the World" by Ron Suskind. He wrote about the world has changed since 9/11 and how the US has responded to it. He said over and over, that the US has lost its voice of moral authority. We have traded force for our voice.

This is our reality in 2008. We are no longer just the US. We are the United States in a global world. Every decision has implications around the world. We can't live in a vacaum, we must open our eyes to see the suffering that exists through poverty, disease, human trafficking, drugs, corruption, the list can go on and on.

I just wonder what would happen if we would spend less on our military and more on helping to bring justice through providing ways for basic needs to be met. I wonder what would happen if we laid down our territorialism and began real dialogues about how to work together to bring creative solutions to the challenges our world faces today, this year and for the future.

Jesus came and offered a different force: the force of love and Holy Spirit power. His government is the Kingdom of God and it brings a whole new vantage point on how to think and how to move.

More on that later....but until then, who are you going to vote for?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Occidental Park in October

Everyone is buying up spaggetti, hamburger and tomatoe sauce in preparation for our Celebration at Occidental Park on Sunday. We plan to serve approximately 800 of Seattle's poor and disenfranchised. Several bands are coming to play to lift everyone's spirits, and we are ready to pray for healing and needs with all who desire prayer.

This is being done in the direct opposite spirit of our city and the current mayor. I have blogged earlier about "Nicklesville," the tent city that is trying to find a place to call home. They have been arrested and moved, their tents and permanent structures have been bullldozed, their story doesn't even make the papers anymore as everyone is consumed with keeping their bank accounts afloat.

But, as I read Eugene Cho's blog, I read about one couple who has a powerful story to tell about being homeless. This is the reality for married couples: there are no shelters for them to go as a couple. He may find a bed, and she may find a bed, but they won't find beds together.

Can you imagine not being able to go to bed at night with your spouse? It's something that most married couples totally take for granted, not realizing that if we hit some unfortunate circumstance, we may find ourselves just like this couple.

This life was never meant to be lived alone. Jesus came to teach us the way of community. He invites us to his table to feast with him. This is the posture to which we will be going to Occidental Park on Sunday; an invitation to feast at the table with Jesus.

We won't be feasting alone either. We have invited kingdom ministries to partner with us: so that we can be the Body of Christ reaching out together, setting an example of unity that the world can observe and desire themselves.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Golden Moment

It was quite the week last week, wasn't it?

Every day the news seemed to get more grim over the economy. It doesn't help that our country is entering into a presidential election; one that has the world on the edge of their seat.

In these uneven days, I find it helpful to look for those "golden moments" when God and his ways stand out bigger than the chaos all around us. Bill, Bonnie and I had one on Saturday when we went to the Farmer's Market, the last for the season.

It became our weekly event together this summer. Bonnie is home for this transitional year as she awaits midwifery school in Australia next July. Every Saturday we would meet at the market, and enjoy the smells, sounds and sights of people gathering from across Washington and the local community coming together to support the local farmers.

We were always delighted to look at all the beautiful flower bouquets, and would look at all of them until we found just the perfect one for the week. We admired the fruits and vegtables, and the homemade items of different vendors. Bill likes to go off and find the perfect pastry!

So, it was with some sadness that we went this past Saturday. It is the last one for the season. But, when we got there, just in time because is was the last hour of the market, we were happy to see the number of people still present and all the vendors making their last sale until next Spring.

The weather was a perfect fall day, the leaves are turning and the crisp coolness was in the air (but no rain!). We got some BBQ, and went to the picnic table, listening to a young boy and his Mom playtheir violins, trying to make this moment last as long as we could because when we hit Monday, we all go our separate ways!

But, I've been reflecting on the reality that God gives us these golden moments so that we can walk differently than the rest of the world through times of stress and crisis. We can walk in faith, recognizing that even if we lose our whole bank account, not all is lost because this earth is not our final destination. We are strangers passing through.

But, as we spend time with one another, connecting at these special points of life, we are breathing life into our spirits, and inviting the world to live differently too!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Viewing the Call and Response Film

Tonight my daughter Bonnie and I attended the Call and Response film on Human Trafficking.

The showing took place at a theater close to U of W, so it was perfect for the 20 somethings that were present to watch the film. It was exciting to me to see their passion and their activism activated in such a powerful and tangile way. A good number of them stuck around after the film to hear about more ways that they could get involved in a tangible way that will make an impact in the world.

The film was very well done. It was put together by a young man who was so struck with the issue that we have more slaves in the world today than at any other point in history that he went out and did something about it, in a BIG way!

It is a documentary but it is filled with music; artists that also have a heart to tell this heart breaking story of over 27,000,000 people on this earth.

The trafficking ranges in many ways: from children being sold in sex slavery, to women thinking that they are signing up to work for a reputable company only to find themselves gang raped for an extended period of time, to children in Africa brainwashed into terrorism, to young women in India who may be stolen by a relative, sold to a trafficker so that their relative can pay for their daughter's wedding, to other children who are kidnapped to pick cocoa beans for chocolate.

The stories are heartbreaking, but the good news is that they are being told. God's Spirit is breathing breath into this issue and shining light on it so the darkness is penetrated.

Going to see Call and Response (http://www.callandresponse.org/) is a great way to do a kingdom action. It raises your awareness and creates sensitivity so that God can work in your life. It may lead to a next step, which leads to another step, until so much light is shining that the reality of human trafficking becomes a non-reality.

That's my dream. That's the dream of others in Missio Lux who are praying and moving intentionally to start a Missio Community, to gather other like minded people together and to begin to pray and dream about what can be. The dreams are big because they are God's dreams. And, if I remember right, when God dreams something, it happens!