Friday, May 29, 2009
Have you ever considered the reality of what happens in life when we do something that seems small at the time but actually ends up quite huge by the time the circles are finishes rippling out?
We speak often of the “ripple effect” in Missio Lux.
Sometimes what we do seems small when we look at it, but it is always much bigger than it first appears.
Here are a couple of examples:
Occidental Square at Easter:
Everywhere I go in the city of Seattle I run into people who know about it! They either got our prayer email or they got the invitation or they knew about it from friends . . .the word got out and it made an impact on them, even if they were unable to come.
Different people and churches are checking out what we are doing. It seems many have questions and ideas about how to make changes but they don’t know what to do beyond that. We are doing it!
Our next Celebration is about “the Ripple Effect.”
Sunday, June 7th we are worshipping through service. We will be doing a food assembly for COTNI: Children of the Nations. Our food bags will be sent to orphanages in Sierra Leone. This is going to be a very fun and invigorating event for people of all ages!
But, it doesn’t stop with our Celebration on June 7th.
The goal is to ripple out as we take the food assembly to our neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, and friends and family.
It’s simple and inexpensive to do; COTNI supplies all everything we need. Think about whom you would like to partner with to do the food assembly with and then invite them to come to participate next weekend.
The ripple effect keeps going as the food reaches Sierra Leone. The children will find out that people in a faraway place of Seattle, WA, USA care enough to spend their time and money to help provide them some food. Jesus reminds us that “Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me.” Matthew 25:40.
Whenever you go through your day, consider the Ripple Effect. With Jesus, whatever we do is always bigger than we can see at first glance. Someday when we are in heaven, we will realize that if we are connected to him, the fruit that we bore has a bigger harvest than we ever realized.
What can you do to start the ripple effect in your life?
What ideas have you done or are considering to start the ripples?
Let's share our ideas so we can be part of a continual ripple all around the world.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Today was my monthly prayer day; it was a beautiful day so I got to spend it outside. A rare gift after the long winter of Seattle gloom.
I am learning to ask myself 3 questions that seem very helpful to being a Jesus follower who tries to live a lifestyle like his.
These are the questions:
Is my mind aligned with God's mind?
Are my emotions aligned with God's heart?
Is my behavior aligned with Jesus' priorities?
It's been amazing as I've asked Jesus to show me what adjustments or alignments that I need to make how specific he is being with me.
I am thrilled. It's really making a big difference in how I am walking thing out in life.
This is what I am discovering.
If our mind isn't the same as God's mind, we are on a different foundation from the start.
When our emotions are far from God's heart, we feel things that aren't based on truth: for example: when we feel angry about something our spouse didn't do the way we want, and it makes us want to control (of course I know about this one too well!), rather than move to a place of respect and honor which we do know is God's heart for our marriages.
If we do step into a place of control, our behavior is out of alignment with Jesus' priorities, which then causes us to justify which then makes our mind out of alignment with God's mind.
Today I started by praying that the Lord would align my mind with his mind before I went to prayer. I think that this is the first time that I have ever intentionally done this before I prayed.
I was rather amazed by how I was led to pray; I was given some very fun and creative ways to pray, ideas that I would have never thought of on my own.
These questions are going to become an intentional part of Missio Lux langauge and practice. I am excited to see how God is going to work with us in his places of truth, grace and creativity!
Let me know if you begin to use them and how it's going.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
This blog is my personal reflection on the journey of healing that Jesus is leading me to walk.
Close to two years ago, my parents took my siblings and spouses and Bill and I on a two week road trip. The last day of the trip, I was sitting in the hotel room literally twiddling my thumbs while I waited to leave. I was directed to read Ezekial 37, the passage on the valley of the dry bones. I heard after I read it: "There will be a shaking in your family, but I will bring breakthrough."
We were literally shaken just two hours later through a revelation by one of our family members; the shaking has continued through my extended family ever since.
My Mother found out two weeks after that trip that she needed heart surgery; her valves were leaking and needed to be fixed. The odds of it not working were just 2% but she ended up being one of that small minority. Just two months later, her heart was leaking just as much as before the surgery and the amount continues to increase as time goes by.
It's been one challenging health issue after another for my Mom; they just keep coming.
The Lord called me to a time of prayer and fasting for my family last November. Sometimes when I prayed, I saw God's hand with a needle sewing the valves to the heart. I knew that God meant it when another family member saw the same picture in prayer.
However, her health continues to decline. Every time I go to the Lord to complain, I hear "Romans 4: the faith of Abraham." Abraham is called our Faith Father because he waited 25 years for his promised son Issaac. Even though his body was as good as dead and Sarah's womb was closed, he believed that God was able to do the impossible.
That's what faith is: something that is bigger than we can see or imagine. Abraham teaches us how to walk in those places.
But, when I think about my own hesitances and listen to the people around me, I see that we hardly dare to hope, let alone stand in faith. As I've searched my life and heard those around me, I think that it comes down to this.
We are so afraid of being disappointed.
We fear God may not "deliver."
We wonder if we can trust him with something as big as our dreams.
We are afraid to look foolish in front of others.
We are afraid to be disappointed.
So, we have faith for drs to heal. We trust the medicine. We believe while it feels safe.
But, God wants us to have faith even when not one shread of evidence exists that healing will happen.
Our famiy is being put through this test. Missio Lux is being put through this test.
Just two weeks ago, my Mom was here in Seattle. Missio Lux Healing Prayer Community gave one of our gatherings to pray for her. We believe we heard the Lord say he had healed her.
The next day she felt great, but even before she left, the following day she couldn't breathe. We got the word just four days later than she needed to go on oxygen.
God, this doesn't look like healing to me.
Saturday she was rushed to the hospital because she couldn't breathe at all. I felt afraid. I was scared I would lose her.
But, Sunday I woke up to Jesus' tender question: "Will you stand in faith or will you stand in fear? It's your choice."
I knew then that I would stand in faith. I would believe that God has promised and he is doing it. That my part is to trust his character is good and his desire is to heal. We are being trained as we stand against the circumstances.
I had a talk with a wonderful woman of faith yesterday and she summed it up this way: "When we believe that we can trust God's character and that he is for us; that he wants our best, we can pray with great faith and let go of the outcome. We don't need to worry because we know God is good."
Romans 4, describing Abraham's faith, is the Scripture that I have been called to read over and over; the pages are getting worn out! But, the most meaningful statement in this passage is this: "When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn't do but on what God said he would do."
Where do you see that a situation is hopeless? How have you been able to walk it out in faith?
I'd love to hear so we can mutually encourage each other.
Friday, May 22, 2009
When we begin to understand that God has daily plans for our lives and we begin to see what those "divine appointments" are, amazing things can happen.
The following are just a small sample of ways that God is allowing us in Missio Lux to shine light on the world.
1. Airport Check In:
Our Learning Community Team came to the end our time in South Carolina and was at the airport ready to come home. We ended up checking our bags outside and out of the blue, I said to the man who was checking us in, "You seem peaceful. " He said, "Yes, I am." I asked, "Is there a reason for your peace?" He answered by pointing upward. I said, "Oh, you are a Jesus follower. So are we."
Then, I asked, "How can we bless you today?" He answered, "Oh, I have everything I need because of Jesus." I asked him if we could pray. He was thrilled and said, "Of course." So,we started to pray for Kevin. We prayed for many different areas that God led us to pray. When it was over, he told us that he was supposed to have left 1/2 hour earlier but for some reason, never did! He also told us that he was being promoted and he felt that God had made it happen.
Kevin was African American. This felt very significant for me because I still see many remnants of racism in the South. But, during that kingdom moment, we were uniting over the one we follow: Jesus!
#2. Asking Directions in a Liquor Store:
Two members of healing prayer were going to a healing service but couldn't find the church in which it was being held. So, they went to a liquor store to ask for directions. There was a man there that they asked. They ended up talking and after a time, one of the women asked him, "Is your son a follower of Jesus?" No, he answered. How about your daughter? No.
Then the light went on: "Do you know Jesus?" No, he answered. "Would you like to?" Yes, I would. So, there they prayed, all three together in a liquor store for a man who didn't know he would have a divine encounter with two women filled with so much light that they can't help but let it spillover so it pours onto those who are thirsty to know the one who fills that thirst.
#3. Conversation over Pancakes:
I had a special day set aside with my daugher Heather for her birthday last Saturday. She surprised me by wanting to start off serving at the 1st Seattle Breakfast. So, we found ourselves there and Jesus delighted me by directing me to a conversation with a young man named Tim. He was clean up, articulate and struggling after a recent relapse with sobriety. We had an amazingly connected conversation and during it Jesus began to show me some areas where he needed freedom.
When the timing was right, I asked him if I could pray for him. He said, "Yes!" (I find it very rare that anyone, even people from different faiths, turn down prayer). So, I began to pray. I prayed for the rejection that he had experienced his whole life to be healed. I prayed for his addiction to be broken. I prayed for his isolation to be replaced with a connection with the One who Created him and friendship with people.
When we finished, he looked lighter and his face lit up with a huge smile.
I thought of Tim several times during the next few days, recognizing how much God loved him that he directed my daughter to choose the breakfast to start our day, so he could receive the freedom giving prayer that he desperately desired!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
She arrived last week at 12:30 p.m. Thursday.
She currently weighs in at 14 Missio Communities; 10 in Seattle, two in Denver and two in South Korea.
Very few problems existed at birth; and with the great care we've received, mother and baby are doing fine.
Please be sure to check out the pics of our new baby: http://www.missiolux.org/
Stay connected for pictures and progress through the year as we watch her grow.
Thanks for your part in helping Missio Lux live out our mission: to experience and share the freedom and hope Jesus offers with everyone. That includes you!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Arok, like John Kher, is helping get the children from his village of Paliu to boarding school. We are partnering with Arok and John in Seeds of Hope to help accomplish this God sized opportunity!
Arok came to the Arbors Missio Community Sunday, as well as the T3Missio Community. As he told his story of having his village burned at age 7 due to war, discovering he had just become an orphan and told to walk to Ethiopia, and then the challenges of being a refugee for most of his childhood, the children in our community had big eyes! They understood that Aroks’ childhood looked very different than the one they are experiencing.
Arok shared stories of the challenge of having only enough food to last for 3 days if they ate enough or 5 days if they really stretched it out—but never enough for all 7 days. He spoke of thirst—he told of needing to drink their urine to stay alive on their treks to Ethiopia and Kenya. He spoke of the Kakuma Refugee Camp and how scarce water was that they weren’t able to bathe regularly.
These stories break our hearts.
We have a hard time imagining life without the basic necessities of food and water. However, the truth is that for much of the world this is their reality. The Wall Street Journal reported recently that one billion people in the world are now going hungry.
One billion—can we even relate to such a huge number?
Missio Lux understands that if everyone does their part; everyone in the world will have what they need to live with basic supplies of food and water. We have committed ourselves to live sacrificially so that we can free up funds to share with those struggling throughout our area and in the global world. Remember that each missio community has 75% of what they give to carry out a missio purpose!
So, what is our part in the next few weeks? There are some specific ways that we can align our lives with God’s heart to serve the poor and suffering. I hope that you will take the time to ask Jesus where he wants you to join in for your part of shining Jesus light to the world through action!
(If you live beyond Seattle, be creative and find some similar activities to participate with so that you can do your part to help hunger and thirst become a thing of the past rather than our present reality of 1 billion people).
Carry Five, Saturday afternoon May 30th: an opportunity to experiencing carrying a 5 gallon water jug on your back for five kilometers to help bring water to struggling 3rd world villages. Click on this photo or see www.missiolux.org for more details on how to join Team Missio Lux. Anyone who wants to gather early can bring a picnic and we eat together.
Feed the Poor and Disenfranchised at 1st Seattle Breakfast, Saturday morning, May 30th: Click on this photo or see www.missiolux.org for details.
Garage Sale for Seeds of Hope, Saturday, May 30th: Click on this photo or see www.missiolux.org for details.
June Celebration, Sunday evening, June 7th: Come ready to party and work! We are going to assemble 8,000 nutritional meals with Children of the Nations (COTNI). Our food will be shipped to Sierra Leone. Missio Lux is providing the funds to pay for the meals; a total cost of $2,000 as each meal only costs 25 cents each.
Our hope is that we can multiply our experience as we take them into our neighborhoods, work place, families and friends. This way we are extending our part in helping feed a hungry world. Invite those in your life that you would like to partner with to host a COTNI food assembly to come and experience the fun of doing our part to help serve our global neighbors. See www.missiolux.org or click on the photo link for more details on how to participate!
Friday, May 15, 2009
It snuck up on me after all that I have been doing, so I went with a free agenda, letting God know that he could do whatever he wanted; whatever divine appointments he wanted to give me were great!
I was pleased to find out that the whole idea of prayer breakfasts started in Seattle during the depression. They began to spread and when Dwight Eisenhower asked to join the Senate and House prayer breakfast, it began to move into many countries. Prayer Breakfasts can now be found in over 180 countries on every continent.
Gary Haugen was the key note speaker. Gary started International Justice Mission; an ordinary guy whom God has called to do extraodinary things. He said some things that I would like to pass along:
He began with the quote: "All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing."
He began to explore reasons why we don't rise up against evil: it all comes from poverty, but not the kind that comes through lack of money.
1. A poverty of compassion
2. A poverty of purpose
3. A poverty of hope
When we begin to know the God of compassion, purpose and hope, we begin to rise up and realize that we have been given what we need to fight evil. We belong to a powerful God who gives us compassion, purpose and hope, and as we live out of those truths, we see lives, our own first and then other's lives, transformed.
After the breakfast, I ran into an amazing woman of faith. Her name is Valerie Vicknair and she is powerhouse in the Lord. We were thrilled to see one another, it had been too long. She is being called to help a woman named Susan Hutchison run for Ron Simms position. She used to be the anchor for kiro news for a long time but now she has a new kingdom assignment. Valerie told me that this council of 7 has never had a person of faith on their council. Let's begin to pray for Susan to be given the keys to the council......
As people gathered around Valerie and I, I realized that even if we have never met, when we truly seek to follow Jesus first in our lives, connection happens in powerful ways. I left with many new friends and some enlarged vision for how Missio Lux can be a true mission of light. We can stand as beacons of light against the dark evil of this world.
I love the Scripture in John 1:5 which states: "The light penetrates the darkness and the darkness cannot extinguish it."
Wherever we go, even to a Seattle prayer breakfast, we bring the light which quickly overpowers the darkness.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
There is so much to process it may take me a few blogs to get it all.
But, today I want to consider how worship and relationship with Jesus live out practically.
If you think about it, Jesus taught his disciples how to follow him through the regular experiences of life. He didn't take them out of their environment, he spoke to them in their ordinary life. Think about Peter; he told him he would be a fisher of men, but he also helped Peter reel in the biggest catch of his life, as well as a call away from fishing as an occupation. Amazing.
Sometimes when we come together in church we miss how Jesus wove his teachings into our lives. We sit in a row, looking at heads, expecting to get fed....hmm, no wonder it doesn't always integrate into our whole lives.
This is what I love about the Learning Community. We don't spend the whole time in a conference room; we are encouraged to take it into regular life and get to know one another in the ordinary of life. We didn't follow this direction this visit, we sought to work on our project, our assignment, rather than follow the directive to go have fun for a few hours. We ended up frustrated and a bit burned out, rather than accomplishing out goal of relationship and task.
It takes time to undo years of patterns that are ingrained into us.
It's not just about our team, however, there are others to invite into relationship. There's the whole 3d team to befriend. There's the other churches that have committed to the Learning Community too! So, I felt relationally challenged at times because I wanted to know everyone at once....but there are many other opportunities for that to happen.
One of the best times at the Learning Community for me was the worship. They always bring a gifted worship leader to help worship starved leaders connect with their loving God at deep levels. The environment of openess for how God moves through his people through the power of Holy Spirit is one that I want to emulate at Missio Lux.
American Christians often get a bit wary of the "supernatural gifts and power of Holy Spirit" and yet this is what makes us special. We carry the power of the living God within us. No conference, teaching, leader, book, resource can replicate what the living person Holy Spirit can do. One of my dreams for Missio Lux is for us to be so comfortable with Holy Spirit and his love and power that we embrace the whole Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit and all that each unique person brings to our relationship.
We are impressed to walk in balance, just as we seek to walk in balance balance between knowing God, loving one another in community and seeking to serve the world in missio.
Tonight we are looking to Holy Spirit as healer as we pray for my Mom. She has a serious heart condition that the drs. cannot heal. However, God is the best doctor and as we go to him seeking his heart for my Mom's heart, we anticipate being touched and healed in deep places.I will let you know, but for now, let's take some time to worship and to interact with someone that we love.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Last night we gathered with the Missio Lux Healing Prayer Community to pray for her. Jesus' love was very present, both through the people in the room but also in a tangible way through the Spirit. Our family was praying both here and around the country alongside the team.
We worshipped, read Scriptures, took communion, confessed our fears, doubts and unbelief, and then began to pray for the healing that God loves to do to show off his heart and ability to heal.
We encircled my parents. What a gift to be able to do this! We expressed our love to them, and the honor of praying. We laid hands on her and finished by praying the Lord's Prayer, emphasizing "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
Jesus taught us to pray that prayer while he still walked the earth. I am not sure that many of us realize what we are proclaiming when we pray it. If we think about it heaven doesn't have any of the struggles that earth carries. There is no sickness, no death, no isolation or loneliness, no hopelessness, no violence, no unemployment, the list goes on.
Last night was a taste of heaven as we prayed. What a privilege to have a relationship so close to our Creator that we can ask him to move within his creation to restore it to his original intention when he created the earth!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
It was quite the week.
We met at the airport at 4:15 a.m., ready to embark on our long journey to South Carolina. Of course, SC is probably the hardest place to get to in the whole country from Seattle. But, it was worth it; both for the delightful summer weather and beautiful ocean beach and the environment of learning that we encountered.
It's so fun to learn in community. It was like anticipating Christmas to meet others who have a vision for living our relationship with Jesus as the church, not as going to church. We met each church and their team, looking forward to how we would mutually impact one another through the next two years.
Our team had never been together as a team before, so we spent the first morning before the Learning Community started getting to know one another better. As we shared how we were shaped, we asked ourselves the question, "Are there spiritual gifts that we don't share because they are the more supernatural gifts?" Good question. As we answered that question, we turned to 1st Corinthians 12-14 where Paul addresses the very same questions with the Corinthians church.
Before we knew it, God led us into some of those gifts; surprising us with them. They came out in order just as Paul describes it being done in his letter. The love that we experienced from our Heavenly Father, as well as to one another, was life changing. It reminded us to not shut down what God wants to do, even if it feels new and a bit strange, because of the blessing we will miss in the process if we do. That morning was definitely one of the highlights for me for the week as we lived into a real divine encounter.
Life in the Learning Community consists of a balance of relationship, teaching, worship and exploration of new possibilities. Mike Breen, the leader of the LC, has an amazing ability of taking hard concepts and making them simple and easy to remember.
I was reminded again of how important it is to be able to replicate the ideas in my own setting. Multiplication is vital in moving forward. A common language is essential. The lifeshapes woven into biblical and practical teaching gives the common language that Missio Lux needs to be able to expand beyond the normal boundaries.
It's vital that the missio communities in Sammamish, WA and South Korea, along with everyone else in between are able to communicate. The Learning Community team committed themselves to learning the lifeshapes and using them in our regular language so that they can begin to multiply and impact everyone in Missio Lux, giving us a great foundation for moving forward.
What questions do you have about the Learning Community and our experience? You can always check out their new website at www.3dministries.com.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Saturday Evening we gathered for our monthly Celebration. Our purpose was to follow God's directive to "remember." We know that he wants us to take time to reflect upon our experiences where he shows up and teaches us new things; bringing forth his kingdom from heaven to earth.
We already knew that Easter Celebration at Occidental Square with the people from the east and the west, the north and south was an opportunity for people to gather at the table of the kingdom of God, but we hadn't reflected corporately on our experience. Each one of us has a powerful story to tell and we need to tell them.
So. we did. We heard from men and women, old and young as each described how they personally rubbed up against Jesus found in the man who walked out of the VA hospital that morning without permission, the woman who didn't want to wait in the long line, only to be ushered to the front of the line as the most special guest; the man who thought he was having a stroke and sent his friend to ask for someone to pray for him; the couple who went to find all their possessions bulldozed by the city; the stories continue.
It's holy to stand in those stories. It's a brush with the supernatural realm that opens up our spirits and heals us, bringing us closer to God's true purpose for us.
He gives us life; but it rarely comes through the ways we think. Sunday night we closed the chapter on our last experience at Occidental Square, but the book isn't written fully yet. We are waiting to hear it's time to write the next chapter in the book.
God, when will it be the right time?
Monday, May 4, 2009
You might think that it happened in a very reverent place, like a church building. No, it happened in Safeco Field in Seattle as we went to watch the Mariners play baseball.
Yes, it's true. Baseball must be God's favorite sport; especially when the game looks the way it did that night.
First off; it was a beautiful Seattle evening.
The sky was clear, it was 75 degrees and the lights sparkled like diamonds over the city. We went to celebrate my daughter's birthday, and we were there together as a family, a very precious rarity as we gather from our different places, literally around the world. Heather just returned from a trip around the world for 8 months; so it is good to have her home, and even better that she wanted to go to the Mariners game for her family birthday party.
It didn't look like baseball heaven from the start. 3 innings in and Oakland A's had scored 6 runs and were leading 6-1. The Mariners often loose the game at that point, but not in baseball heaven. They scored 2 runs in the next inning and four in the 6th, which included two amazing home runs.
It ended up that the Mariners went ahead 7-6. Oakland scored a home run which tied the game. It stayed tied until the bottom of the 9th when Seattle was up to bat. Oakland walked the batter that had the biggest potential, so the bases became loaded. Lopez came up to bat and quickly the count was 2 balls, 2 strikes and 2 outs. His next bat was a foul So, were the next 8 bats after it. Finally, on the 10th swing, he hit the ball nice and clear and Mariners scored!
They were overjoyed! I was estatic because a game like that doesn't happen nearly enough. It was a glimpse for me of what heaven will be. Everything lining up--the people I love, the peace and beauty astounding, and the game such a nail biter that I think that it really couldn't get any better than this.
If a baseball game can touch me in such a deep way, it's hard to imagine what heaven will be. But, I know this; God gives us pleasures on earth to help us to long for our ultimate destination: life with him that will never be interrupted and will heal every hurt, brokenness, sickness suffering we have ever experienced.
Heaven, I can't wait!
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Today is a really exciting day, as a team of 5 of us are getting on a plane: 6:00 a.m. to South Carolina to attend our first Learning Community Retreat.
This is led by Mike Breen, from 3dministries, who has led a similar model chuch in England as Missio Lux, and is now helping the European Church Planting Network plant missional communities as the new way of living out our faith in a church community.
We are going to be learning with 14 other churches from various denominations and locations around the country. I embrace this new style of gathering over a conference where you get a download of information and a dose of inspiration but then leave, forgetting most of what is learned.
Learning Communities are about learning in relationship.
We have committed to the Learning Community for two years, which means that althogether we will gather 6 times for four days. We should know one another pretty well by the end!
It feels like Christmas to me to be going with a team of people I enjoy being around and care about deeply; to meet others who are passionate about Jesus and living the great adventure of faith with him, and then learning from some leaders who are modeling a Jesus lifestyle that I can respect and admire.
I will let you know all about it when I get back on Friday!