Friday, July 31, 2009

Make New Friends....but Keep the Old....One is Silver and the Other Gold

Let’s Make Time for Some Rn’R this Summer: Relationship and Rest!
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself until it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in me. John 15:4

Refresh your relationship with Jesus; what does this look like for you?
Relax with people whom are important to you~enjoy the friends and family God has blessed you with.
Relish the opportunities for new friendships as you participate in Missio Lux activities.
the summer to God~let him restore and revive you for the season to come.
Rhythm: Jesus practiced a rhythm of life and as his disciples; so should we!

Does anyone remember the song we used to sing as children? Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold!

Our friendships in life are invaluable to us. Some of us have friends all the way back to our childhood and they are gifts to be treasured and polished for their significance in our lives.
But, new friends bring life and a renewed sense of interest and hope to our lives. New friends widen our circle and surprise us with the little tidbits of fun information and coincidences we pick up as we spend time with one another.

Jesus knew about the value of old friends and new friends. He had his 12 disciples; they were the friends that he lived life with! But, he also had an ever increasing circle of new friends; they became his circle of 72. Eventually, they became the New Testament Church as everyone who commits to follow Jesus is called his friends.

Reflect on John 15:12-15
“Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I'm no longer calling you servants because servants don't understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I've named you friends because I've let you in on everything I've heard from the Father.”

When I take in the reality that the One who created the entire universe draws close to me and calls me his friend, it changes my perspective on my life and my world. I realize the depth of value I carry because my “friend Jesus” gives it to me by telling me that he’s letting me in on all the Father’s wisdom and plans. His love to me shows me how to love those around me.

It also reminds me that if Jesus felt a need to expand his circle of friendships, I should follow his example as well. I have much to offer a friend because I can share God’s love with them. I can also share an invitation to join our missio community because I know that their life will be blessed through the experience.

Our commitment to RnR this summer is to abide through engaging relationship and rest. My summer has been filled with BBQ’s, dinners, picnics, hikes, blueberry picking, concerts in the park~all great invites to people that I am seeking to know better by spending time with them!

Jesus told us that one of his biggest priorities is for us to go and make disciples. We do this best through relationship. Standing on street corners preaching doesn’t make too many disciples; in fact, it can stand in the way of making disciples.

But, genuinely caring about people, inviting them into our lives, being interested in their lives, does open the door for a conversation about Jesus after trust has been built.

Very often it comes in the form of a comment such as “You seem to live differently than most people. You don’t seem as worried about your finances as others; or as stressed about your children; or as concerned about your job security….or a number of other observations that opens the door for us to speak about the peace we have because we know that Jesus is in control of our lives, so we don’t have to worry!

Missio Lux is committed to creating opportunities for you to continue to build new friendships. It isn’t really an option for us if we are committed to following Jesus and modeling our life after his. In our structure of creating missio communities, it is easier to invite new people into our lives and to make time for them through the real life that takes place in our communities.

There’s still time left for you to invite some new friends to come and experience Missio Lux through the Thursday night concerts in the park, our Celebration on August 16th, parties with a purpose for Children of the Nations (check the website for dates), and baseball on August 12th.

Here’s my challenge to you: Pray and ask Jesus to show you who it is that he is pointing out to you to come alongside as a new friend.

It will be someone that you enjoy and brings greater meaning to your life. Invite them to check out Missio Lux through one of the fun abiding activities we have this summer! Then, email me or call me about your new friend as you follow Jesus’ example and make new friends of silver.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Doing Life Together

Okay, sometimes I underestimate things. Such as giving my husband a surprise party for his birthday and thinking that I could do all the cooking for 25people in just four mere hours.

But, God loves this about me. He knows that my faith includes moving mountains for obstacles and so he comes alongside me in my overestimation of reality!

This is my story of how one woman listened to me say a quick sentence about a surprise party for my husband and took note that I would need help.

She called me that morning and offered to come and spend some time helping prepare for the party; even though she was having guests over that night herself.

I was delighted because I HATE to cook alone and I was beginning to discover that there was no way that I was going to pull this feat off myself--no matter how much I multi-task!

So, my dear friend, came over and worked circles around me. She anticipated my every need and met it before I could get there. She taught me little cooking tricks along the way. She helped to make floral arrangements and even brought me Mexican memorbilia to help decorate.

Rosemary was God's gift to me that day. He gave me his help through his faithful friend Rosemary. She responded to his call for her to come and did it happily and with great love!

Everything came together with at least 3 minutes to spare!

The party guests came and waited for Bill to show up. He was absolutely flabberghasted when he opened the door to a huge number of people yelling SURPRISE!

I was delighted that we pulled the surprise off; but I am also grateful that God surprised me with a gift too: the gift of Rosemary!

It's All About Relationships, Part 4

I floated home tonight from the Healing Prayer Service. No, it isn't because of the 97 degree heat; it's because Jesus met us tonight in a profoundly moving way.

We were able to pray for a couple at the Healing Conference last month. Ken had a stroke on their one year anniversary and has been completely paralyzed for 24 years. Cheryl, his wife, was 22 years old at the time. They called and asked to come and give their testimony at the prayer service because of the magnificent healing they received at the conference when our team prayed for them.

Ken, who is unable to speak, wrote a moving testimony that his father-in-law stood up and read for him. Cheryl kept wiping his eyes because he was crying while it was read. They weren't tears of sadness, however, they were tears over how Jesus had met him and changed his entire life.

Cheryl was very honest about where she was at the 5 year mark of Ken's stroke. She was so DONE. She was angry and she disdained her paralytic husband. But, she asked Jesus to give her love for him, and in an instant, she fell madly in love with her husband, seeing him as handsome, strong, and even the smell of him made her practically faint with love. She knew at that moment that Jesus had given her his own love for Ken and she has lived with that love ever since.

She said that if everyone loved like she loves Ken, divorce would totally disappear.
Imagine this. A woman who hasn't had children because they were unable due to Ken's stroke. She lost her house because he lost his income. She had to move in with her parents. They lived in the family room, separated by a sheet. In this world, she had nothing.

But, in God's economy, she was given everything.

She has an overflowing of God's love for her husband that continues 24 years later.
Tears fell freely from everyone's eyes as they saw the spiritual giants that stood before them, and heard their deeply moving testimony. Cheryl now goes and prays for others to be healed and guess what? They are getting healed!

They fully believe that Ken will walk again. They know because the Lord has given them a deep sense of knowing. As we prayed for Ken tonight, I remembered Jesus, how the faith of the paralytics friends caused them to rip a roof apart because they wanted their friend healed that much. We tore the roof apart tonight too, as we desire for the miracle you promised to come forth!

It's all about relationship with you and one another. I was profoundly impacted by Cheryl's story and how you so completely and dramatically changed her heart. That's my new prayer for those that I pray for; Lord Jesus, give us your heart for this person: our spouse, our child, our neighbor, our boss, our co-worker......anyone you bring into our path!

Our Sudanese Brother Arok Goes to Sudan

Sunday night Seeds of Hope (our missio community that is helping Sudanese orphans go to boarding school) had a BBQ. The purpose of the BBQ was to bring people together to hear the vision and give support through finances and prayer for the upcoming trip to Africa.

Angie, the leader of Seeds of Hope, gave a terrific presentation on her upcoming trip where she will get to go and meet our children, as well as the headmaster of Roots Academy where most of the children go to school.

Arok wasn't at the BBQ because he is already in Africa. He left a couple of weeks ago and had to cross the border from Uganda to Kenya. But, just three days ago, he crossed the border from Kenya to Sudan.

Arok is going back to his village for the first time since he left it as a scared little six year old orphan.

Unlike our transient culture, Africans know that the land is their home. They don't ever stop longing to be there; even if a war has been waged over it for over 20 years.

It's rather like the Israelites in the Bible. Their land was their inheritance. But it always comes with a price. Many times that price is war.

Arok was concerned about the flood of emotions that could hit him when he returns.
Will the memories of the screams of his village pound his ears?
Will the smell of the fires from the huts burning incense his nose?
Will the cold of the night remind him of being all alone after his village was destroyed?

Most likely.
But, my prayer is that Arok will be struck with the great sense that God has saved him and strategically positioned him for such a time of this, just like Esther.
God put Esther in the palace to help save his people from destruction.

God has placed Arok with Seeds of Hope to help get his village children educated so they can return and rebuild that which was decimated.
I dream about the village of Paliyu having many wells for water, thriving farms with abundant crops, clinics for medical care, a government that is just and fair, and schools to educate the children.

This is what can happen when children are educated. The cycle of poverty and hopelessness is broken and seeds of hope are planted.

Arok is a seed planter of hope and he is stewarding his life well. Please pray for him as he gets nearer to his village each day and for the two remaining border crossings that he has left to go!

Pray for Angie and Arok as they meet up in the town of Nakuru and then travel to Kodera, Kenya to observe the remarkable community transformation that has taken place with Pine Lake Covenant, so they can begin to make plans for their village.....

Friday, July 24, 2009

Jimmy Carter's Stand on Women in Ministry

It may not be in the newspaper, but it's all over facebook.

What's the conversation?

Jimmy Carter's decision to leave his denomination, the Southern Baptist Church, and his home church because of their stance on women in ministry. To read more click here

This is not a small sacrifice on his part. It meant that he walked away from the denomination he spent his life serving, as well as the church where he served faithfully for decades, building deep friendships along the way.

I am grateful for Jimmy's sacrifice.

In a world where much of the American Evangelical Church tells me that it is not okay for me to be leading a church because of their doctrinal position, it is a gift to have a major leader of our country and evangelicalism rise up and say, "I will not tolerate this any longer."

It's not easy being a female pastor. I don't have a lot of women to look to as role models. I don't have a lot of other female pastors to hang out with at conferences or in my denomination, even though the Evangelical Covenant Church actively supports women in ministry. see
(One benefit at conferences, however, is that the bathroom lines are non-existent!)

But, it's my life.

When Jesus called me to serve him in ministry; I knew I had to take the step of obedience. I knew that to turn my back on what he was asking me to do was to was too big an act of disobedience, and I would rather please him than please the world.

Amazingly, when Jesus called me to go to seminary, (actually it was more like he dumped me there with a shovel), I didn't know how I felt about women in ministry. I hadn't ever studied the issue, it wasn't preached from the pulpit, I didn't know very many women pastors, so I went to school rather uninformed on the issue.

I was forced to study the issue, however, when a good friend of ours had my parents, sister and ourselves over for dinner. Right after the prayer, he made this off the wall comment: "Women pastors, they make me want to throw up."

Dead silence.

Finally, my Dad spoke up and said, "Well, you know, that is what Tamara is going to seminary to study."

So, this gracious man wrote me a letter asking me to share with him my theological position so he could understand.

So, I started studying. (Good to be ahead of the curve.)

I studied all the typical passages, but it was this one that made my spirit leap up and say, "See, there is room for both genders to lead the church."

Pentecost. Peter stands up to preach and the first words out of his mouth are from Joel 2:

"I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions.
In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on servants—men and women alike."

Jesus showed me that day that the New Testament Church had different rules than the Old Testament. The New Testament Church was for inclusion of everyone: men and women, slaves and free, young and old, Jew and Gentile.

This meant that what was previously reserved for Jewish men was now open to a passionate young Gentile woman who loved Jesus with all her heart and was willing to do anything to serve him, and to go anywhere to follow him.

That woman is me. I have followed the Lord for 20 years in ministry and have even boldly gone into new territory of Missio Lux.

It is a gift to me and many others like me that Jimmy Carter stood by his faith convictions and sacrificed his comfort for truth.

May his tribe increase.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Church in the Park

This summer Missio Lux is holding our Celebrations at a park. It's so beautiful in Seatttle this time of year; it only makes sense to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of God's creation.

The other reason, however, for meeting in a park is to simpifly our Celebrations so we can live out our intentional decision to follow God's rhythm for life in resting and Jesus' call to us to not just work, but also to rest and build our relationship with him!

Read about what one Missio Lux woman wrote in her blog: click here

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It's All About Relationships, Part 3

We are learning in Missio Lux to "Do Life Together."
Today I had a fun experience of living life together with my next door neighbor.

She has a dog named Pepper and I have a dog named Nicki. When we meet together as vision partners for our Missio Community, I bring my Nicki to play with Pepper.

I have this amazing 100 lb Bernese Mountain Dog, but she is so gentle and compliant that it makes us laugh. She has never once run away from our yard! I often let her sit on the front porch to cool off and she has never once left it.

But, today, she decided that she and her dog friend, Pepper, needed some time together to do life. So, Nicki got out of the back yard through the gate and went to our neighbors house, sitting there patiently until the door got opened and Pepper ran out too.

They didn't run away, however, they came back to my yard to play!

My neighbor Nancy, came over and discovered that they were playing in the back and we got to share a moment of deep connection as we celebrated how even our dogs want to do life together!
It's all about relationships, and I am loving it!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dropping my "To Do List"

I blogged a challenge yesterday to "drop our to do lists."

My day changed unexpectantly and when it did, the switch I needed to make didn't work for my energy level. I found myself longing to go to the lake to bask in the sun and to be by the water.

So, I took my own advice. I went to the lake and found so many gifts along the way: my daughter came for a bit and we had a wonderful conversation, I feel asleep reading a book, and when I awoke, my friend was taking out his boat and invited me into the party. So, I found myself doing the things I love to do, some of the very things that revive my energy.

I drove away knowing that God had given me these gifts because he is teaching me to follow his rhythm and to enjoy the good things he has put into my life.

Did I still have the same things to do when I got home?

I did, but suddenly I found new energy to tackle them. The time of abiding/fun/rest gave me the fresh momentum to get them done. Almost. I hit another wall after a couple of hours, so I just stopped.

I am learning to go when my energy level says go. To move in the areas where my energy and momentum lie, and to stop when it's time. This is a new place for me and I am loving it.

How about you? What's happening as you learn to live Jesus' rhythm of abide and bear fruit, abide/bear fruit/abide!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

R n R this Summer: Relax with People that are Important to You

Let’s Make Time for Some Rn’R this Summer: Relationship and Rest!

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself until it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in me. John 15:4

Refresh your relationship with Jesus; what does this look like for you?
Relax with people whom are important to you~enjoy the friends and family God has blessed you with.
Relish the opportunities for new friendships as you participate in Missio Lux activities.
Relinquish the summer to God~let him restore and revive you for the summer to come.
Rhythm: Jesus practiced a rhythm of life and as his disciples; so should we!

I just had the great privilege of hosting my very dear friend, Anne, from Denver. She came to experience Missio Lux for four days as she is longing for a different way of walking out her faith. She wants to take what she experienced in Denver and help others experience it too!

We had a busy schedule as she met with many of the different Missio Lux communities and Catalysts, but we also had those moments of being together, just the two of us, that bring the sense that “life can’t be much better than this!”

It is our relationships that bring life. If we think about it; it’s in our DNA from creation. God created us to have relationship with himself and one another. So, when we enter into it, we experience life as we were meant to live.

Think about yourself. Who do you love to be around? Perhaps it’s your family, but who else? Is it that friend from college that lives across the lake so you don’t see him very often? Is it a former co-worker that you have lost touch with because you don’t work together any longer? Is it a neighbor?
This summer is the perfect time for you to reconnect! Missio Lux recognizes that when we are living out our three values of knowing God, loving one another and serving the world, we are living the balanced life that Jesus taught us to live when he was on earth.

Relationships are like breathing to our body: they bring life and bring fresh energy. I believe that we feel so stressed and exhausted because we are ignoring this piece of our life as we seek to finish the forever mounting “to do” list.

I have a challenge for you this week. Throw your “to do list” away. Throw it away and just move in ways that bring energy to your life. And in the process, make a phone call to your dear friend that lives across the bridge, call your former co-worker and make a dinner date, get in touch with your friend across the country.

Give yourself permission to live life the way God created you to live. And, then take a nice deep breath as you realize that you are living the way you were intended.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It's All About Relationships, Part 2

My good friend from Denver just left. She was here for four days; she came to experience Missio Lux because she recognized that her heart was longing for something deep that was not being fulfilled in her weekly church attendance.

I put together a weekend that allowed my friend to experience many different aspects of Missio Lux:

We met with Keith; a very kingdom minded leader whose deep desire is to see the Latino community of Seattle united and elevated.

We met with Scot, the co-owner of Adventure Teaching ( that brings teachers to South Korea and then gives them opportunity to be part of a Missio Lux Missio Community.

We hung out with Valerie, a mutual friend who has the amazing gift of finding her way into unique places to pray: we were ushered up the Space Needle at 7 a.m. and given the invitation to stay as long as we wanted.

We had a leisurely dinner with our Huddle Catalysts and ended up in an amazing prayer time for one another.

We had lunch with the Missio Lux Prayer Team and ended up experiencing kingdom breakthrough prayer for one another.

Right after that, we hosted 25 children and 25 adults in our home for the "Children of the Nations Party with a Purpose" (see last blog) and were able to pay for and assemble almost 4,000 meals as we served the world but also the families around us by modeling a lifestyle of service.

We met with various Missio Lux leaders; always coming to a place of deep relationship and prayer by the time we parted.

Last night we had dinner with the Missio Lux Healing Prayer Missio Community and then worshipped and prayed for one another.

No one wanted it to end, especially my friend as she stated over and over, "This is what I have been seeking. It's so simple but so profound. It's all about relationship."

I realized as I was driving home from the airport that God is doing something significant in how we will grow: it comes from relationship and a desire to be together; whether it is in Seattle, South Korea or even Denver.

What is God going to surprise us with next?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Children of the Nations Food Assemblies Continue to Ripple Out

This was a big weekend for Missio Lux as we continue to live out our desire to see everything we do multiplied, much like when one throws a pebble into a lake and watches the ripples continue to circle out!

We had a Children of the Nations Food Assembly at our June Celebration and it was such a gift to see people of all ages and from 8 different countries come together to assemble the food. But even more exciting was that 15 different people committed themselves to host a "Party with a Purpose" for Children of the Nations in their own spheres of influence.

This weekend three of these "Parties with a Purpose" took place! Between them, we put together as much food as the June Celebration, doubling our 8,000 meals to 16,000 meals! Many more of these will take place through the rest of the summer and even into the fall as we continue to move towards our goal of 40,000 meals!

Our Missio Community did this for our weekly gathering. My neighbor Nancy and I both sent out emails to our neighbors, friends, and Missio Community. When 4 p.m. hit, families began to stream through our door, until there was 25 kids and close to that many adults. I didn't even know several of the families because they came through Nancy's friendships. Many of our neighbors would never have come to the June Celebration but because they know us as neighbors and trust us to have their best at heart, they came!

The great thing about taking them outside the building and into our homes and work places is that we can expand the ripples and keep them going. We challenge others to host the "Parties with a Purpose" so that more and more people can experience the fun and purpose that comes with serving others.

It's always fun to see who God brings as a surprise. One of the best ones last night was the parents of our Danish neighbors. They loved it and couldn't wait to go back to Denmark to tell their friends about what they got to do, and observe their grandchildren doing something so powerful to shape their hearts of compassion and bring a more expanded worldview beyond our life in Sammamish, WA!

Right as we were finishing our food assembly, the rain began to fall. (I know it, it's not supposed to rain in Seattle in the summer!) We came inside and it was mass chaos as we gathered behind the 15 boxes to get a picture of the group, as well as eat the dinner that everyone brought to share. But, it was the chaos of life together, friendships being formed, and a joy over reaching out to care about the rest of the world.

Over and over, the parents told me how grateful they were for this opportunity. It is hard to shape our children's characters in this place of great affluence and social pressure. Anytime we can do something that helps us to care for others, our heart is expanded and our lives are shaped.

I can't wait to host another one. I have a "Party with a Purpose" scheduled for August 18th, so if you are in the area, come on by and experience the joy of serving!

Here is a video of our June Celebration Packaging Event. For more information visit or The Children of the Nations Website.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Our Sudanese Brother Arok Goes to Africa

Yesterday our Sudanese brother, Arok Garang, left for Africa. He has been in the states since year 2000, and has been back to the continent of Africa once, but has never returned to village, Palliyou, in Sudan.

His dream is to go back to the village to see what remains from the destruction that took place over 20 years ago when the Jinjaweed came and burned their village, raped the women and killed everyone; except the young boys in the cattle fields.

These young boys, between the ages of 3 and 7, began to walk and find one another. They eventually became known as the "Lost Boys of Sudan" and 15,000 walked over 1,000miles, without adults, to Kenya, where they lived in the Kakuma Refugee Camp.

Arok was a leader at Kakuma, having responsibility for over 500 of the boys. He is a leader who takes initiative, putting himself through college at Colorado University, without help. He is a man who grabs my compassionate heart because of how he is stewarding his life.

He lives to help his village and the people of his village. He took on responsibility for half of the orphan children when the Kakuma Refugee Camp closed.

We met Arok through our Sudanese friend, John Kher, who lives in Seattle. Arok and John divided up the children, each taking on 35 children to help find homes and to educate.

This is when Seeds of Hope Missio Community was born. It was birthed alongside, Missio Lux, and has provided boarding school tuition for 34 kids through generous sponsors.

Arok is going to see those children in school at Roots Academy. He will be able to film them and bring back their stories so we can continues to be inspired by the privilege of helping children whom the world has long forgotten.

This is what Jesus loves to do: to come alongside those that the world has made invisible. When we care for them, provide basic necessities such as housing, clothing, food and education, Jesus is delighted with us. When we help provide an avenue for education, we are moving in an area of justice, beyond compassion, when true transformation begins to happen.

Arok is also going to meet up with Angie, the Seeds of Hope Missio Community leader, and accompany her to Kodera, Kenya, where they will come alongside the village of Kodera. Pine Lake Covenant has befriended Kodera and has the privilege of being part of an enormous community transformation.

We are excited for Arok to see Kodera because this is our dream for Palliyou. I will keep you posted on Arok's travels and story because this is one story of Missio Lux where God is at work in a miraculous way.

Friday, July 10, 2009

"And the Lame Shall Walk"

The Healing Prayer Missio Community went to a prayer conference a couple of weeks ago with Global Awakening. The reports of healings taking place around the world are just extraodinary. Ordinary people are praying for healing and the blind are seeing, the deaf are hearing and the lame are walking. In the process, hundreds of salvations also take place as people see the power of God rising up within their midst.

But, what about the US? Is healing taking place here?

One of the first things we did at the conference was wait on God for a "word of knowledge." If he gave us a picture, a feeling in our body, a written word in our mind, a thought, a vision or a dream, we were to go to the front and give our "word of knowledge." About 50 of us did. What happened next was amazing. When we spoke what we got, people stood up if they had that ailment. Then we came together and prayed. Many people got healed. The teaching that the leaders gave was that if God shows it to a person as a "word of knowledge" it is his stamp that he intends to heal it!

Much of the conference was designed for the attendees to pray for others to be healed. There were several present in wheelchairs. One couple had a story that takes one's breath away.

On their one year anniversary, the husband had a stroke. He has been unable to move anything beneath his mouth for 24 years. His wife is his main caregiver. Many of our team spent all their prayer time praying for this couple. The first night that they prayed, he was able to move one hand, one arm, one leg was kicking away and his mouth was able to move at will. He was able to kiss his wife! This motivated our team and they kept praying; staying for hours after the conference actually finished.

This is the very exciting part! His pastor, not knowing that they had attended the conference, had a dream: a "word of knowledge." In this dream, the lame man was totally set free and was walking all around, completely healed. The couple is already proclaiming healing and looking forward to the day when he will be completely free. In the meantime, they have a strengthened faith, new hope, and a closer relationship with one another.

Healings are taking place in the US and they will increase. This is God showing us his love and power and that he is the ONE TRUE GOD!

We have a testimony every month at our healing prayer service. Guess who called and asked to give their testimony? The couple. I can't wait to hear it and to have my own faith strengthened through their experience. If you are in Seattle, we meet the fourth Tuesday at 7 p.m., July 28th this month, at the PL Sanctuary, 1715 228th Ave, Sammamish, 98074.

If you are out of town, wish you could join us, but look forward to my blog after it happens.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

R n R this Summer: Refresh Your Relationship with Jesus!

Let’s Make Time for Some Rn’R this Summer: Relationship and Rest!

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself until it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in me. John 15:4

Refresh your relationship with Jesus; what does this look like for you?
Relax with people whom are important to you~enjoy the friends and family God has blessed you with.
Relish the opportunities for new friendships as you participate in Missio Lux activities.
Relinquish the summer to God~let him restore and revive you for the summer to come.
Rhythm: Jesus practiced a rhythm of life and as his disciples; so should we!

We are focusing on R and R this summer. As we live into the rhythm that God created us to follow, we will experience a life that is more fulfilling and fruitful than we ever imagined.

So, many of you have asked, abiding is a good idea, but how do we actually do it? What does it look like? How do we know when we are accomplishing it?

Great questions. My reflections for the next few weeks will include simple tips on how to live into the abide/bear fruit rhythm and to make the most of our summer plans to live into relationship and rest.

The best starting place is with Jesus. He taught his disciples, that’s us, how to live life and when we follow him, we tap into that deep place within us that releases joy so that even our bodies become better equipped to go through each day.

Here are a few simple tips for how to start spending time with Jesus on a daily basis, or to do something different which changes up your regular habit so that it feels refreshing and new:

Take the Spiritual Pathways Quiz and then identify ways to live into your preferred way of connecting with God. ( After you discover your highest preference, go and live it out! Reflect on what took place as you lived into that part of you that is brought alive by connecting with Jesus in ways that reflect how you are uniquely created.

Read through one of the Gospel books through the summer: Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.
Set a goal for each day on your calendar and ask the Holy Spirit to direct your understanding of the what you read. Journal about your reading. How did Jesus meet you in each passage?

If you desire to dig deeper, use a Study Bible or Commentary to assist you. (On line Commentaries available at : )

Do something active, but do it alone with an intentional desire to connect with Jesus.
Take a hike, a bike ride, sit outside on your deck, but get outside and enjoy the beautiful sights, sounds and smells of Seattle summer. Reflect on how your spirit came alive to God through the experience, and then tell someone about your experience.

After you engage in these abiding activities, leave me a comment and let me know what happened, that way we can build on our relationship!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Celebrate Recovery: A Community of Grace

This article will be featured in the Pine Lake Post Sunday. Celebrate Recovery is our kingdom ministry shared by Missio Lux and our parent church Pine Lake Covenant.

For the past 17 months, a unique community has developed on Monday nights here at PLCC.
This community, a partnering ministry between Pine Lake and Missio Lux, gathers for a meal, worship, testimonies and sharing in a circle of confidentiality -- all familiar features of small group growth.
But Celebrate Recovery (CR) is distinctive because of the environment of grace and hope that is present from the very start. At CR, the emphasis on God’s love and the freedom to face struggles and hurts provides a place of safety and learning. Healthy challenges are offered within a community where you can take off your mask and allow others to know who you really are.

This culture of grace is what makes Celebrate Recovery a distinctive community of refuge and hope. The experience of being in a Christ-centered group that welcomes and encourages everyone to acknowledge their “hurts, habits and hang-ups” is drawing more and more people. Hear the witness of those who have experienced that freedom and support in their own growth in Christ.

One man writes: “The guys’ time together has been very meaningful. We can let down our guard and see how much we are the same, how we are not….people who had to keep a secret. The freedom to share openly removes the power our secrets have over us. This makes it possible for us to deepen relationships and be there for each other through life’s battles.”

The uniqueness of this type of connection has not gone unnoticed.
Another man describes it this way: “We're like pioneers. Our fathers would never have come together like this to share their lives and their struggles.”

“I've never before felt I could trust other men,” says a participant. He highlights the power of this grace-filled environment to bring about change: “The unconditional love and support I have received through Celebrate Recovery has changed my life. It has given me strength and is truly what I believe God intended the church to be like.”

CR’s structure provides the framework for this expression of Christ’s church. One member of the community explains that the consistency of the program “provides a safe environment where (we) realize we aren't alone in our daily struggles and that there is hope.

People at CR don't fix or judge others; they share truth and grace over time.” “The sense of community and support is awesome,” says another. “God's love is real in accepting loving people.”

One woman describes her experience this way: "It feels good to be here; I am glad I can go someplace where I can be real." "I'm glad I have a place where I can check in," says another woman. "It feels safe here; it feels like coming home."

Celebrate Recovery is a grace-filled community, because Jesus Christ is the foundation of all that happens. If you are longing to “come home” to a place where you can experience the power of God through accepting, loving people, where you don’t have to hide your true self, check out this Monday night gathering. You will find grace!

By Sharon Anderson and the Celebrate Recovery team