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

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 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


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 ( 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!

More about MIssio Lux Launching

I have some perspective now. The first 24 hours after a major event such as Launching Missio Lux is like crashing down to earth in a rocket. I was in atmospheric shock!

It's always interesting to me how the supernatural and the natural connect together. Our launch was an event in the natural realm, and included plenty of earthly items to take care of: signs, brochures, greeters, formation of the service, childcare workers!

But, in the days leading up to the Launch I also felt the Lord speaking to me about a much greater significance than how the service flowed or how many people attended, and that is what took place in the spiritual realm.

Whenever a people of God takes a giant step forward in following God's call, there is great movement in the spiritual realm. When sin entered the world, Satan was given the title: "The God of this World." Jesus came to redeem the world, however, and since his resurrection, we entered into a new age: the age of the Kingdom of God! Jesus authority was re-established and everytime we take a bold step in faith, Satan's territory is diminished and God's territory is expanded.

The Lord has taken me back to Joshua over and over, ever since the early days of my call to Missio Lux. In those days, it was more about the strength and courage that God gave to Joshua, but lately, the section that calls me back over and over, is about entering into the Promised Land. Joshua had the courage to see God over the giants, and he knew that if the Israelites took the bold step of faith, they would truly reap the benefits of their obedience.

Joshua was able to see what others missed because he knew God's character. He spent time in God's presence over everything in his life. And, it paid off. He was the one chosen to take the Israelites across the Jordan River into their new land.

I spoke to Missio Lux about Joshua and his passion for God at the Launch. I also spoke to them about their opportunity to cross over the river into the very land that God intends for them to have. Of course, since we don't plan to own buildings, this isn't physical land, but the call and the unique opportunities that God designed just for them.

Each Missio Community has land just waiting for them. They are being specifically called together so that God can carry about his purpose of establishing them in their land, and in the meantime, giving them the same opportunity that he gave to the Israelites: "You are blessed to be a blessing to the world."

I believe that those who participated Sunday night at the Launch took a bold step of moving into the river. Now, we get to wait to see how the waters will part so that we can fully occupy the land that God intends for his people.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Missio Lux Launches

Last night Missio Lux Launched!

As I was praying for it Friday morning, the Lord gave me a specific instruction. He has been showing me much about Joshua these days; Joshua was one who knew how to spend time in the presence of the Lord and in that, he was given big responsibility to lead God's people into the Promised Land.

But, he was tested. When the 12 spies were sent into scout out the Promised Land, only two, Joshua and Caleb came back saying that "because God was with them, they could go in." The other ten chose to look at the giants instead, and gave a report of fear instead of faith.

I was challenged on Friday to respond to the giants that came big and strong until the Launch with faith, not fear. And, they did come~in lots of different ways, including not getting all the sound and technology together until 5 minutes before the service started. But, in it all, I knew that the giants build our faith if we choose to respond in faith, not fear.

I feel like Elijah this morning, after he was confronted by all the false prophets and saw God bring forth the miraculous.~but he was exhausted when it was all over.

I will write more about the Launch. But, until then, let's walk in the spirit of Joshua as we respond to the giants in our life in faith, knowing that the God of miracles is much bigger!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Divine Appointment at Phantom of the Opera

Sally loves Phantom of the Opera. She spoke about her excitement of having tickets to go for several weeks leading up to the date. But, something even greater took place when Sally and her daughter Chloe went to the theater.

They met a homeless man named Richard. He apparently has "lived" in the Paramount parking lot for years. A man who works there named Joe has befriended Richard and has a heart for others like him.

Sally and Chloe struck up a conversation with Richard and Joe came out. Sally was telling them about Missio Lux and Joe said, "We don't have to go to a building to have church, we are being the church right here, right now."

Then, Richard got his Bible out and started sharing about how God always provides for him, and so the four of them had a conversation with one another but also received a touch from God as he joined their conversation.

Joe offered Sally and Chloe free tickets to Paramount events, but what Sally wants even more is to have a conversation with Joe to explore how a Missio Community could be formed with homeless people.

I haven't mentioned yet that Chloe has had a big desire for years, she's 11, to do ministry with the homeless. She is getting the desire of her heart with Missio Lux as she has had many opportunities in the past several months to get to know several homeless people, who have become friends to her.

This is Jesus' lifestyle in action. It is seeing an adolescent grow her passion at an age where it can truly stick if is real and continues to happen on a regular basis.

Another divine appointment. God keeps showing up when we look for him.