Friday, March 28, 2008

Resurrection Day and Peter

Missio Lux celebrated its' first Holy Weekend. We had a Maundy Thursday experience where we walked with Jesus and his friends through the Passover Meal, their first communion, Jesus' struggle in the garden, his arrest, and his betrayal by two of his friends: Judas and Peter.

Easter Sunday we gathered in some of the worst weather of the whole year to baptize. Before the baptism we heard stories from those committing themselves to the sacrament of baptism. They spoke of how knowing and following Jesus has transformed their entire lives. Many of them lived lives like Peter, knowing Jesus, but disappointing him over and over again. They knew they carried a call from Jesus with them, but for a time, chose the things of the world over the call. They, like Peter, found that the life of the world is very empty.

Our reflection on Resurrection Day was about Peter. Peter, who had great faith, but also great fear. He declared before Jesus and all his friends that he, Peter, was ready to die with Jesus. But, in the courtyard where Jesus was being tried, he didn't even confess to know Jesus--not to people of great authority, but to servants.

So, what happened to give Peter the courage to preach to thousands and see them become Jesus followers? He experienced Pentecost. He received the power of the Holy Spirit and he transformed from a fearful disciple to become a fearless witness.

Peter's reality is our reality. Because Jesus came and died, but did not stay in the grave, we are also given the power to be fearless witnesses. We will screw up, just like Peter. But, that doesn't concern Jesus too much; if it did, he certainly wouldn't have left Peter to lead his church.

Let's not focus on our failures, but on the power of the Holy Spirit given to us to live our faith in a way that makes other people notice and ask: why are you different? As we answer, we too, could see thousands decide to follow Jesus too.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Darfur and the Kingdom of God

I watched a documentary this week on Darfur, Sudan. A Marine was stationed there for six months in 2004-5. He took stacks and stacks of pictures of the destruction of whole villages, families and property. He shows them to whomever will look and listen.

I wonder if maybe our apathy towards Darfur has to do with the reality that there are so few pictures of the destruction. Journalists are rarely, if ever, let into this region.

This man, however, saw it all.
He saw bodies hacked to death with axes and left unburied to rot in the sun.
He saw woman weep over the loss of their husbands and their dignity as they were gang raped by the Gingaweed.
He saw children wandering aimlessly in IDP camps, with no home, water or food.
He saw enough so that at the end of the video, he spoke about how his dreams for his life had dramatically shifted. He once desired to be able to retire and sail out his days on the ocean.

Now, however, he will continue to beat the drum of the seriousness in Darfur until his drum has worn through and can't make noise any longer.

Jesus says that the Kingdom of God is here. Satan's rule has been bound and he is rendered in operative. But, in places like Darfur, Satan seems to be alive and well and thriving. His rule is very much in operation. So, how can we as Kingdom citizens, help turn this tide?

First, we need to care about their suffering. We need to know what's happening and be able to tell others about it.

Second, we need to pray. Prayer is the first response as strongholds of evil must be broken down so that our efforts can make a difference. I read an article by George Clooney a couple of weeks ago where he says he almost regrets his work in Darfur because whenever attention is drawn to an area by the western world, the destruction seems to dramatically increase.

Third, we need to do something. Missio Lux has chosen to be a mission of light by our call to help Sudanese children get to school. As they get educated, they will have the ability to help stabilize their country. It is the people of Sudan, cooperating with Jesus and his heavenly army, that will see change.

This is the reality for the 21st century, Darfur is our neighbor. And Jesus tells us to love our neighbors. Let's do it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


It's been awhile since I have written. The day after I wrote my last blog, my parents called with the news that the heart surgery that my Mother had the middle of January did not take, and she would need the surgery again.
I could hear the fear and despair in their voices. The surprise of a surgery that had a 98-99% success rate failing. It was Friday night at 5:30 and by 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, I was on my way to the airport.
It was the strangest thing because I had a weekend that was almost totally free. This hasn't happened since I moved to Seattle....but it wasn't really free because God had so many plans for me in Colorado.

I spent the whole weekend walking through one divine appointment after another.

Our family was able to gather and pray over my Mother; asking God to do what the dr's didn't do~heal her heart. I will never forget my Dad putting his hands on her heart and calling out for God to heal. It was a gift.

I came home to a non-stop week, and by Friday I had the surprise of a nasty virus that has knocked me for a loop. As I consider how I feel with a minor virus, I think of my Mother and the thought of having a major heart surgery twice. It is with that thought that I come to You, God, again and again, calling forth your supernatural healing that will heal Mom's heart. For your surgery is so much more powerful and healing than any doctor would ever accomplish.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Being present at the Mall

Earlier this week I took our daughter Molly shopping. She is home from college on Spring Break, and one of our favorite things to do together is to shop. I was hanging out on a comfy chair, being quite happy to sit there and veg, while she tried on her choices.

So there I was minding my own business, until God highlighted three of the girls shopping in the store. They were probably about 15 and were dressed with all the right things: the right purse, the right shoes, the right style, the right haircut. At times I can find myself becoming cycnical about this culture of "the right."

But, not this time. This time God showed me his heart for these girls. He showed me that althought they had everything, they really had nothing. He showed me that inside all the "right" things that they wore outwardly, they were suffering inwardly. They carry a pressure to "look right, do right, wear right." They also carry a sense of loss because it all comes so easy for them, and it lacks meaning. He also showed me that as they didn't know who God was, they were empty, not even coming close to being able to articulate what they were missing, they just knew that they were . . . . .missing something.

So, I sat in my comfy chair and prayed for them. I realized that by doing that, by noticing the girls and connecting to God's heart for them, I was bringing the kingdom of God to earth. I was bringing God's desire for them to know and follow him and calling it into reality in my prayer. I was also allowing my heart to be transformed as in the past I would have probably have gone down the road of cynicism, rather than love and care for three girls I may never see again.

And, what a great way to use my veg time, it turned out to be a divine appointment instead.

Where do you find yourself waiting?
Are you willing to let God take that time and make it productive for his purposes?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Crossing Over the River

Missio Lux had the third and last Build Team meeting Saturday. The Build Team was gathered to lay the foundation for Missio Lux through writing a mission, vision, and values statement. We also spent a lot of time re-envisioning what can be: through our leader Jesus and his call for us to follow. We are beginning to intentionally listen to his voice, and we are working hard to hear one another.

In many ways we can relate to the Israelites as they waited to cross over into the Promised Land. Mosese was dead, along with the period of 40 years of wandering in the desert. Now the Israelites were ready to cross over into new lands and new ways of living. They were leaving the old behind and embracing the new.

This is what we intentionally did on Saturday. We made a conscious decision to leave an old way, thought, habit, pattern, paradigm, experience, behind. As we put our rock on the altar, we also embraced a new way to live out our faith. I sat there and watched as people came and left their yellow sticky tags, one on the left for the old way left behind and the one on right as the new way to embrace, with their rock in the middle. I was struck by the courage of those that have committed themselves to walk in a new way. In many ways, it is easier to maintain the status quo and let the river of life take us away.

But, each person who put their rock on the altar represents a life that God has touched in a significant way, so that the status quo is no longer an option for their faith.

The people that crossed over the river with Joshua were a transitional generation. They only heard the stories from their parents of how the Egyptian chariots were coming upon them and God pulled back the Red Sea so that they could cross through. They knew the years of wandering in the desert, eating the same thing for 40 years.....I bet that the manna didn't taste as good then as it did in the beginning. But, they were able to embrace the new land with anticipation and live into God's promise of a new inheritance.

So, it is with us.
We have heard the stories of how God rose up and moved dramatically in history, but it has happened so seldom with us. We have wandered in the desert for a long time, living out the faith that we were taught, but not walking in the fullness of God's supernatural presence in us. But, as we leave it behind, we anticipate that God's timing and his rapid movement that is springing up . . . . to live like the Israelites who after they crossed over heard the Lord say: "Tell your children that 'Israel crossed the Jordan river on dry ground.' For the Lord Your God dried up the Jordan before you crossed over. The Lord Your God did to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord Your God."

Missio Lux: may we know that the Lord Our God is powerful and may we always fear him. He will take us into the unknown land and we will see his hand move in ways we never dreamed possible.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Big God Dream, Part 2

I blogged yesterday about our Sudanese brother, John Kher, and his story. But, in telling the story I didn't get to say much about John. John fell on his 1,000 mile trek to safety as a young boy and broke his hip. He now walks with a limp because one leg is considerably shorter than the other. He lives in constant pain. But, he has the biggest, most infectious smile of anyone I have ever met. He radiates joy to whomever he comes into contact.

He doesn't have a lot of education. He didn't learn much in Kakuma, he didn't get enough to eat while his body was growing, the school wasn't very effective. When he came to the US, he was in foster homes and the education system just kept passing him through rather than take the time to figure out exactly what he needed.

He works as a janitor. He takes great pride in his job, he loves the uniform and the people around him adore him. He makes one feel like you are the most important person in the world.

John has every obstacle against him. He was traumatically orphaned, he grew up in a refugee camp, he is in a foreign land, he is disabled and has learning disabilities, much more than I dare say most Americans have ever faced.

But, he has a heart the size of Texas. He also has a vision. He has a burden for his people, the Ajuong subcommunity, from Sudan. He has made sacrificial life choices to put his people before himself. He longs to see his village, Paliau, (in Southern Sudan) made alive again with people, schools, health clinics, churches, a safe government.

The people in Sudan think that the streets are lined with gold in the US. They do not understand that we, too, have to work for a living and that it isn't all given to us. They do not understand why they are not already in a safe boarding school. They are desperate to become educated as they understand that this is the only way to see Sudan become a safe and productive country once again.

Our vision is to educate these kids with the understanding that they will devote their lives, like John, to seeing their villages and their country be transformed.

Missio Lux.....mission of light. Walk in the light as Jesus is in the light!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A Big God Dream

Two years ago, I was at the Covenant Midwinter Conference when during a home made video which should have been professional, but decided to donate the production costs to a desolate region of Africa, I experienced a call. As I sat there weeping, confessing that I had not done enough to help Jesus' beloved people who live in poverty every day, the Lord spoke to me and said, "I want you to get 100 kids from the Kakuma Refugee Camp to school."

Do you know about this refugee camp? It is where the Lost Boys of Sudan eventually went after their villages were burned and their families' killed.

Approximately 20 years ago in Sudan the rebel army came through Southern Sudan and burned villages, raped women, and killed everyone in sight. Except the little boys who were in the fields tending the cattle. These little boys were between the ages of 3 and 7. They lived. They didn't know what to do, so they began to walk. They began to find other lost boys until there were approximately 15,000 little boys who treked over 1,000 miles until they came to the camp in Kenya.

Sadly, the only country who remembered these boys was the United States. We began to bring them over, but when 9/11 hit, we closed our borders to The Lost Boys of Sudan too.

Pine Lake established a relationship with two of these wonderful young men. Their names are John and Peter. John has a huge vision for seeing his village restored. He is so committed to his village that he began to send some of the kids in the refugee camp to school. It's a boarding school so they get enough to eat and they have a place to live which is safe and comfortable. John was sending these kids to school from his janitor salary that support him. When we learned of his sacrifice that was causing him to not eat, we found supporters to send four kids to school.

The children in the Kakuma Camp don't have the same experience as the four kids who go to the boarding school. The U.N. wants to shut the camp down, so they are accomplishing this by providing less and less food all the time. Eventually the people leave because they don't have enough food to eat. But, they don't have anywhere to go because their villages are still in rubble.

The schools in Kakuma have also closed. So, those who had been learning, although not the greatest school, it was at least a school, now have no way to finish their education.

We know that our relationship with John and Peter wasn't an accident. We know that God protected the Lost Boys of Sudan because he has a larger purpose for them. We understand now that our relationship with John involves helping his village get the education they need so that they can rebuild.

Sudan isn't a place where we can go in and help as white Americans. I just read an article by George Clooney who has done a lot of work in Darfur. He is even questioning whether he should have because he believes that by drawing attention to the problem, it can only make the problem worse.

The clear answer is to educate the Sudanese people so that they can then go to Sudan and rebuild their war torn country.

This is what we want to do with Missio Lux. We dream of seeing 100 children in a school which is safe, clean, and provides 3 meals a day. We dream of 100 kids in a school that will teach them to think critically and will give them the education and life skills to rise above the poverty to bring forth real ways of transformation. We deam of seeing John's village rebuilt so that it has water, medical clinics, schools and a infa-structure that supports their lifestyle.

Missio Lux is intentionally keeping our expenses to a bare minimum so that we, like the homemade video, can free up funds to accomplish big God dreams like the one that is before us. Time is running out. We have the ability to help; will you participate?

If you are interested in participating, please contact me at

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Missio Lux: Going to the Unknown Land

Sunday I woke up very early. This was Commissioning Day and I knew that the Lord would have something very important to speak to me. He did.
He took me to Genesis 12:1 where he told Abram to "Go to the land which I will show you."

He basically told told him, "When you start moving, then you will know where you are going."

In many ways, this is what the Lord is showing us with Missio Lux. We started moving by getting together monthly, by reaching out into our community, by holding monthly healing prayer worship services, by meeting weekly for Celebrate Recovery. But, Sunday we took the BIG STEP by getting commissioned, which means 'sent out with authority', from Pine Lake.

As people went through the receiving line, their questions were many.
Where will you meet now?
When will you meet?
What's it going to look like?

We have those questions too, in some ways. But, in other ways, we are holding our hands open: ready to receive and ready to go like Abram to the land which God will show us.

Abram went and the Bible speaks over and over to his faith. His act of going was preparation for the larger act of faith in being willing to give his long awaited son back to God.

My hope is that each person in Missio Lux will remember Abraham (who got the ham to his name after his acts of faith) when they begin to ache for the familiar. And, we will all remember that comfort is not nearly as nice as it is cracked up to be, it is the adventure with God that brings the ham to our names.

So, how does it sound: Tamaraham? What's your name?