Monday, August 31, 2009

The Children of the Nations Ripple Continues

I still have a smile on my face! Yesterday was such a joyful experience as I attended the Party with a Purpose Food Assembly with Children of the Nations ( at Iglesia Covenant Church. This is a small Hispanic Church which meets at Highland Covenant in Bellevue, WA.

They are one of our kingdom partnerships with which we have developed quite a friendship. The people of Iglesia are such a gift with their overflowing love for one another and their delight at having fun and their natural way of living in community with one another.

We walked in and they had started early. They were just finishing putting together 2,000 meals when supernaturally God multiplied their money. They ended up with enough money to donate and assemble 5,220 meals! This was such a gift to them they were in awe of how God provided for them.

This is significant because they were very discouraged one year ago. They had been through a nasty split with a pastor who had some bad theology and they were a broken people. But, God hadn't deserted them. I came to preach and the Lord poured out words of encouragement through me even though I didn't know anything about their current situation. I remember one of the Words God gave me was that they were to be done being discouraged, that God was bringing forth a new way and a new day.

It has happened. They have a new pastor, a woman, who was one of them. She came from Mexico just as the interim pastor was leaving. Iglesia is reaching out to their community through bringing meals to tent city, and now by hosting the food assembly.

Our Tanzenian friends Kedman and Pendo came to lead some energetic African music which only made the food assemblying much more fun as everyone sang and danced to the music. When we were done assemblying, we all came together in a circle as one person after another went to the middle and offered their favorite dance! Our little friend Annika ended up doing quite a duet with Kedman--a picture I will cherish for many days to come.

One of the sweetest and most impactful things to come out of yesterday was that Annika, who is 10 years old, has decided that she wants to have a Birthday Party with a Purpose.

She wants to make meals for hungry children in Africa, rather than receive a boatload of presents for herself.

This is Missio Lux at our best. We spent our money to serve the poor, but did it in a way that created community~with our kingdom friendships. We came together from different places: different ages, ethnicities, countries, continents, economic status', but when we were together, none of it mattered: it only mattered that we were enjoying God's heart beating in us as we moved closer to knowing him, closer to one another and closer to touching the heart of the world.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Occidental Square: The Obstacle We Face

Today we were to be at Occidental Square banqueting with the people who came.

But, sadly, it didn't happen because the city denied our permit request to meet.

Read Laurie's blog about it: Click Here

Friday, August 28, 2009

It's All About Relationships, Part 5

One of the women in Missio Lux has a husband who is resistent to attending large worship services. She is going through an important transition that I believe makes Jesus very happy.

She used to leave her husband at home and come to church alone. As she has learned much from Missio Lux and the reality of the church really being God's people, she has made a transition that has been awesome for her marriage.

She now goes to coffee on Sunday mornings with her husband. They spend time together; reconnecting from their busy weeks, encouraging one another and pursuing a deeper relationship with one another.

Last week they ran into an old friend of theirs who asked them, "Where are you going to church now?" Instead of talking about their church, however, they answered her: "We are the church." This led to a conversation that gave the friend a glimpse into "relationship" rather than location.

After the friend left, the husband confided: "The closest church I have ever experienced was in my men's group. I was known there and knew that I had people around me that cared about me."

It's all about Relationships. Jesus pointed us to this over and over. I believe we are his best witnesses when we demonstrate true authentic relationships. This is what the world is truly longing to discover and experience.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Alignment, Part 2

Alignment Questions:
Jesus, align my mind with your mind
Jesus, align my emotions with your heart
Jesus, align my will with your will
Jesus, align my life choices with your priorities.
The comedian Lilly Tomlin once said, “I always wanted to be somebody. I should have been more specific.”

How often do we have that underlying sense too? We wonder if anyone really sees us, or even more, cares. When we have those thoughts in our vulnerable moments, we are living out the true consequences of life outside the Garden that God created.

This morning as I spent time with Jesus, and contemplated writing this reflection, wondering how most specifically to capture God’s heart for people, I had an overwhelming sense of God’s pursuit of us. I had a glimpse of life in the Garden as Adam and Eve and the overwhelming joy they experienced when they heard the Lord walking through it coming to find them to spend time with them.

This is God’s heart: He pursues us in relationship!

Did you realize that God created the entire universe by “His Word?” But, not humanity—we were created very differently. Read this: “Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.” (Genesis 2:7)

Imagine it. God bending down into the dirt, moving it, shaping it, molding it into his image as he creates his first people.

This is God’s heart: He comes close and gets dirty with us in the messiness of our lives.

But, that wasn’t all! He also came closer and breathed himself into us. We didn’t live until we had his breath in us!
This is God’s heart: He is so close to us that we breathe with his breath. His life is what brings us life.

We often live life and make decisions out of our emotions. This is very contrary to God’s heart for us; he desires for us to stand in alignment of his mind and his heart for us as people: that we are deeply valued, loved and pursued in relationship.

My sister was here for a week and we had an amazing time, but this morning when I woke up I felt so low. Today as I made Jesus my priority, I realized just how life giving it was: when I am not with him, I lose life—my mind begins to drift away from who God says I am and who he is as my loving father. My emotions start to go downhill and negativity sinks in. But, the refocusing today brought me literal life: I breathed deeper and focused clearer as I realized again how much I am loved.

I heard an amazing story last month that I want to share with you.
We met Ken and Cheryl at the Prayer Conference we attended in June. Many from our team spent hours praying for Ken and Cheryl because when Ken was a very young man, he had a stroke that paralyzed his entire body. Ken and Cheryl had only been married one year at that point. They saw their dreams literally slip away from them as the use of Ken’s body slipped away from him.

Cheryl and Ken gave their testimony at the Healing Prayer Service last month. They came to give testimony about the healing that took place in Ken’s body through the prayer he received, but also about the amazing work God is doing within their spirits.

Cheryl admitted that after 5 years she could barely stand the sight of Ken. He represented all her broken dreams. One day in desperation she cried out, “God you have to help me to love him.” Right after that plea, she felt a warm oil come over her head and move all the way down through her body. It was a supernatural anointing of God’s love he was giving to her for her husband.

Immediately, she felt different towards Ken. She couldn’t get enough of him: seeing him, smelling him, touching him. She loved him so much she thought her heart would burst. She told us listening, “If everyone could love their spouse like that, divorce would cease to exist.”
This is remarkable, even if it only lasted a few hours or a few days. But, it’s been 24 years! Cheryl still has the ability to love Ken as God loves him. She sees him as God sees him. She is able to look past his disability and see the amazing heart God put within Ken.
I love this story because it is a picture of God’s heart for us.

Jesus is also a picture of God’s heart. He came to show us who God is. He didn’t stand apart, high up in the universe, judging us. No, he came to earth, was born right into the messiness of life (a stable filled with animal poop can’t be much messier!), and continued to bring life wherever he went.

I love the story of the leper coming to Jesus. Lepers were ostracized from everyone, so much that they had to yell, “Unclean” whenever anyone came near them. Of course, leprosy was so feared that people would run the other direction.

But, this man knew that Jesus was different. He came to him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can heal me.”

Jesus replied, “I am willing, be healed.”

This is God’s heart for us: He draws near to us and dwells with us in our suffering, bringing hope and healing.

I encourage you to continue to use your alignment questions daily. These questions will allow you to live with your mind continually made more like Jesus, and your emotions aligned to God’s heart.

Focus on the two stories I wrote about today, as you pray for Jesus to continue to show you who God is: the God who values us, loves us and pursues us in relationship, even in the messiest dirt of life.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

HIking and Camping: Great Lessons for Missio Lux

A couple of days ago, I wrote about camping and how God used it to give me deeper insight about Missio Lux.

Today, my calves are sufficiently healed enough to tell you about the 11 mile hike my daughter and I took, and how God used it to teach me more about leading Missio Lux.

I've wanted to take this hike for 3 years. It's a hike across a ridge that has spectacular views of the beautiful Cascade mountains. After the steep climb up, it's a rather simple 11 mile hike, coming down into what used to be a winery.
Lesson: The anticipation of the unknown territory drives me to action!

I got right up the day of our hike, and packed lots of good sandwiches and treats to eat along the way. I was surprised when my daughter came down that morning and suggested that we do a different hike, that 11 miles felt too ambitious. After a bit of tug and war, we decided to go.
Lesson: Not everyone around us will be up for the unknown adventure.

The first few miles up were challenging. I knew better than to complain, that would have given my daughter the ability to say, "I told you so" about that hike. So, I just kept praying over and over, "Lord, give me your supernatural energy from above, the same energy you used to create the universe." (taken from Colossians 1:28)
Lesson: Continual prayer takes me through the rough spots.

Eventually, we made it to the top. We didn't see the views at first that I was expecting. It all looked pretty much the same. I just kept anticipating what we were going to see; enjoying the process of getting there.
Lesson: it's the journey that matters, not always the destination.

When we did hit a vista, wow, the view! Everything changed for my daughter then, she was able to literally see, what I had been envisioning in my mind for 3 years. We began to move more as partners and more expectant for what was in front of us.
Lesson: Many people will jump on board once the train is running.

We had some great conversations with the people we met at the top, and felt like we had connected with them in meaningful ways.
Lesson: Being in unfamiliar places brings unlikely friendships.

We started down the ridge--it was much quicker and easier, except for the pressure on my knees.
Lesson: Different segments on church planting will take different skills and put pressure on new places.

I almost stepped on a snake--not my favorite part of the hike. It literally jumped out right in front of me and scared me enough to make me scream.
Lesson: Always be on guard for the serpent who is not on my side!

About a mile from the end, I began to allow myself a little bit of whine. I thought the end would never come. We kept checking with those on their way up and their answers varied considerably; it felt like the destination would never come.
Lesson: Don't look to other people when we are at the end of our rope, let God carry the rope!

When we finally got to the bottom, we didn't see our car. Everything looked different. We were disoriented because it looked different than what we expected. But, we checked in with our new friends from the top, and they took us to our car.
Lesson: The destination will always be different than how I envision it.

I didn't learn these life and leadership lessons from seminary; God uses everything in our lives to teach us if we open our eyes!
Lesson: I am grateful for this hike, Thank you Bonnie!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Camping and Hiking: Great Lessons for Missio Lux

My sister came to visit so the past few days have been filled with fun activities outside in some of the last summer days of Seattle.

We went camping together; just the two of us as no one else had the time off from work. We forgot or couldn't use a few things for our trip together: propane, flashlights, air pumps, but we had the tent!

Of course, it's a tent called "the Buchan Family Mansion" because it is big enough to sleep 10 people. April and I were working it out, trying to figure out just how those poles came together, but we were somewhat relieved when 3 of the campground hosts came over and offered to help. The Buchan Family Mansion Tent comes together with 5 rather than two people!

So, we had a tent.

We went inside to pump up our mattress. We had bought new batteries to make sure it would pump up nice and big for a good night's sleep in the tent. However, we forgot to make sure that the air pump would work. It didn't. Back to sleeping on the ground.

We made dinner but that came to a halt when the propane went out. We had another small tank connected to a lantern but realized that it probably didn't have too much propane left in it either. No light for dressing as we also left the flashlight at home on the "don't forget to bring list."

Breakfast was for one as the second propane tank went out half way through. No problem, we shared a pancake and two worked out fine for a "light camping breakfast."

As we worked our way through every challenge, I realized that life with Missio Lux is a lot like camping.

Advance, adjust.

Advance, adjust.

We make do with what we have, and when something is suddenly not available or gone or disappears, we adjust. We make do with what we have and find a way to make it work.

Missio Lux is in new territory, just as my sister and I were in camping.

We remembered so many fun trips that we took in our earlier family days that included tons of people: husbands, children, friends. But, this time it was us: and we made adjustments for the difference.

It was good but different from what we knew!

Missio Lux is like that too. It is good, but it is different than what many people know. I find that when we aren't used to something being a certain way, it is easy for people to criticize it. However, everything that emerges and becomes a way of life starts with being new.

As we look towards our second year, it will be interesting to see how we advance and adjust with what we have. I look forward to the adventure, just as I relished the adventure of camping with my sister.

Tomorrow I will blog about Hiking: Great lessons for Missio Lux. See you then!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Ripple Continues

Tuesday night reminded me of why I am so passionate about leading Missio Lux.

The Healing Prayer Missio Community held another "Party with a Purpose" with Children of the Nations.

We didn't know exactly who was coming beyond the Healing Prayer MC but God always does his best work at surprises. They streamed through the door, coming from many different places: my neighborhood, those that I have walked beside closely and from a distance, so many teenagers--brought by grandparents, parents and friends, small children with their parents, friends of members of HP MC, over 40 people in total.

Not too many people knew each other at first, but this is the beauty of the Food Assemblies. By the time people walk out the door, they have accomplished a significant task together, they have connected in conversation through dinner, and they leave as friends.

We started out by taking people through the "What is a Billion Quiz?" This asks some specific questions to help people realize how significant it is that one billion people go to bed hungry every day. I saw the lightbulb go on for so many: parents, teens and children. This exposure alone is worth doing the food assemblies.

We must realize that we are privileged to be part of the 20% of the world that lives on more than $10 per day.

Then we moved out to the assemble the bags of food. Each bag holds 6 meals and costs just $1.50 to donate. We ended up paying for and assembling 3,400 meals, which translates to 567 bags of food, and 19 boxes to be shipped to Sierra Leone. This brings our Missio Lux goal of 40,000 meals closer, as we are now at 19,500 with 5 more "Parties with a Purpose" scheduled and several more ready to go!

After we served, we ate. Missio Lux always encourages a meal because Jesus invites us to the table and when we eat togeter, friendships form.

No one rushed off.

The teens seemed so happy; they thrive when they do something significant, it's actually the best gift we can give them. Some played frisbee, some sat together in conversation, three girls sat on our love seat and texted their friends!

The children played with our gentle giant, Nicki, the Bernese Mountain dog, or with our toys in the family room. Adults lingered.

Connections were made. Two people present are holding future "Parties with a Purpose," and they extended invites to many who were desiring to do this monthly! Emails addresses and phone numbers flew back and forth.

As I stood there and observed, I celebrated!

I knew that this is what Jesus loves; invitations into a home, a signficant way to serve, friendships formed. I almost felt like the ground was holy as I knew that what took place Tuesday evening is the Church. It's not a building, it's not a name, it's people gathering becoming friends and serving Jesus as he calls us to love and serve the poor.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Climb for Captives Makes it to the Top of Mt. Raineer

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."
Edmund Burke

We all waited with eager expectation.

Seven men headed towards the top of Mt. Raineer with two goals in mind: to reach the summit and to celebrate an athletic feat that is admired by everyone who hears, but an even more important goal of freeing 18 woman enslaved by sex trafficking. Climb for Captives is partnering with International Justice Mission to accomplish this.

One of the men, Kjel, had climbed Mt. Raineer just a couple of month earlier. The weather conditions, the route, the technical difficulty were much greater than the climb that took place last weekend.

It is apparent that God climbed the mountain before the climbers from Climb for Captives came up because the weather was spectular, the route was direct and not technical, and the cooperation of the 7 was all in synergy.

We congratulate this team of seven for combining a passion for climbing with a missio purpose! This is what God does when he wants to not only please us but bring justice into the world he created.

Don't stop reading now! Take a moment to go to and make a donation! If everyone gives a little, lives will be transformed and the kingdom expanded! Remember the quote from Edmund Burke: "All that is required for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Alignment, part 1

“You are today where your thoughts have brought you,you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have you heard of the tool “The Red Bucket?”
It’s a simple book designed as a workbook/journal to help us busy Americans focus on one thing for 90 days. I have found this workbook to be immensely helpful for me in more than one area of my life as it challenges old paradigms and helps create new ones.

This summer has been a delightful time of discovering resources that are presented to the secular world but have biblical themes running through them. One of the biblical themes running through The Red Bucket is right thinking: believing the truth about ourselves and the world. The premise is that when we begin to think empowering thoughts, rather than negative self talk or criticism of others, we begin to move in ways that take us towards our dreams and fulfillment in life.

This premise came from the Bible.
Over and over the Scriptures point us to the reality that God is for us and he gave us dreams that we are to live out so that his kingdom purposes move forward. Our purpose will always match our created design!
So, what’s the key?

The key is our thoughts.
Over and over this summer Jesus has pointed me to this as the key to kingdom breakthrough. As we think correctly about God, his character and his intentions, and then ourselves in our identity as his followers, our life will come into right alignment with Jesus’ priorities.
Listen to what Paul told the Church of Rome: (a culture very much like ours today)

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2
There it is in black and white (or green!).
God will change the way we think as we seek to know him.
So, how practically, do we do this?

I’ve developed four questions that help us to be open to Jesus changing the way we think.
Here they are:

The Alignment Questions:
Jesus, align my mind with your mind.
Jesus, align my emotions with your heart.

Jesus, align my will with your will.
Jesus, align my life choices with your priorities.

I challenge you to commit to using these questions as you begin your daily reflection time with Jesus. Take a couple of deep breaths and then slowly move through the questions one at a time. Then, take some time to read Scripture and pray. Over and over, I find that Jesus does a bit of an adjustment on me—until I come closer and closer into right alignment.

Here’s a regular example. Yesterday, I was overtired and had a very busy day. I was standing at my washer thinking very negatively about my life and myself. Then, Jesus popped into my thoughts and challenged me: “Do you really have to have a bad day? Maybe you could ask me to align your thoughts with my mind.”

Good thought, since I just challenged the people at the Celebration the night before to use these questions in their daily life for 30 days. So, I began pray the four requests to Jesus as I surrendered my thinking to his mind. My day began to brighten up and amazingly, I even got through my long list of to dos!

So, where is our thinking skewed from God’s mind?
I believe we often have two fundamental beliefs that are far from true.
They are: God is not for us and he cannot be trusted.
I know your first reaction might be: I don’t believe that. But if you begin to search you will find that everyone has a place in their life where our enemy has stolen the truth and planted the lie. This is the strategy that he used with Adam and Eve and he continues, often very successfully, to use it today.

Here are two Scriptures that combat the lies with God’s truth:
Romans 8:31-32: What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?

Psalm 23:6 “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

God is for us. He hasn’t withheld anything from us; he shows us that by his unbelievable gift of his Son, Jesus, to the world. This is his sign of trustworthiness and his generosity, he wants to bless us!
God is good. His goodness and his mercy, which is overwhelming, pursuing love that never quits, is following us for our whole lives. God doesn’t stand apart; he draws near to us, continually showing us his goodness.

I just had my birthday last week. I popped out of bed knowing that Jesus had some birthday gifts for me. The first one was an invitation from him to ask for anything I wanted for the coming year. This is another truth that he is currently challenging me to believe: (John 14:13-14)
You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!

Jesus tells us that when he answers our prayers, it brings glory, delight to his Father. He lives to delight his Father, and he lives to delight us!

So, here’s my challenge:
Make a commitment to use the Four Alignment Questions for the next 30 days.

I will be reflecting on one question each week for the next few weeks, as we partner together to walk aligned in a Jesus lifestyle. Together we can build on the solid foundation of truth about God, ourselves and the world around us.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Birthday Presents

One of the gifts God has given me this past year is a shift in my thinking to believe that God loves to give us good gifts. I've always known it intellectually but this year I have lived it experiencially!

Today is my birthday! I woke up really early and popped out of bed because I was expectant for what God was going to do to make my day special. I am starting to live life out of this lense, of looking for his gifts and expecting to receive them. By doing this, I realize that I spent way too many years neglecting to look for his gifts, and by not looking, I missed them.

I haven't been disappointed. It's not yet noon, but already he has met me in big ways. First, he asked me: "What do you want for your birthday?" I spent some time dreaming and asking, all the while surrounded by a deep sense of his love for me.

I made an important phone call; got ahold of the person and received some invaluable leadership advice.

I got to speak to many members of my family: my beloved husband, traveling --working hard to support our family, my parents, my brother in law and nieces, my brother and newphew, and my sister. I was able to speak and hear God's grace in each conversation.

My children came first thing to say "Happy Birthday" with a hug and a kiss!

I have one last day with Molly before she goes back to North Park University.

I told my stressed out daughter who is trying to move to London to go to University College of London for graduate school and experiencing Visa obstacles, that my prayer for her is that she will know God is present with her as she sees him open doors for her. 10 minutes later she came back saying that she will have her visa in 5 days!

I know that many more birthday presents from God are on the way!

I have open eyes to see them and receive them today.

It's raining here in Seattle so here is one more request to add to my birthday list: Let the sun come out today so that when we go to watch the Mariners baseball team play and beat the New York Yankees, (okay, God that one may need to be a miracle....) we can all be together in baseball heaven!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Doing Life Together: Our Missio Community Goes Camping

Last weekend our Arbors Missio Community went camping!

It was rather hectic pinning down who would actually show up and when and some families seemed a bit overwhelmed at first, but all in all, there is nothing like spending a weekend together to breakdown barriers and get to know one another!


Who loves the first look of someone staggering out of their tent after a very "bad" nights sleep.
Who loves to see who has the wildest bed head hair in the morning.
Who gets the dirtiest and smellist.
Who stays the cleanest and best smelling.
Who makes the biggest mess.
Who has the biggest tent, or the smallest tent for the most people!
Who takes the short hike, otherwise known as the flip flop hike, and who treks all across the wilderness.
Who has the dog that "flagilates" the most.
Who loves to stay up the latest and get up the earliest.
Who drinks coffee and who does not.
Who is the best camping cook.
Who gets the wetest doing the dishes.
Who can say "chubby bunnies" with the most marshmellows in their mouths.
Who forgets the most items for the campsite.
Who likes to get up in the middle of the night to "enjoy the scenery."
Who loves to change the telephone game around the campfire.
Who loves to put their stick in the campfire.
Who loves to collect wood for the fire....

It can go on and on. This is the stuff that authentic friendship is built on. We take off our masks, we admit our weaknesses, and we pick up a camping chair and scoot up to the fire.

Next summer I hope that many Missio Communities would make camping part of their yearly rhythm as we continue to make memories together!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

RnRThis Summer: Relinquishing Your Summer to God

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.
Rhythm: Jesus practiced a rhythm of life and as his disciples; so should we!
Relinquish the summer to God~
let him restore and revive you for the season to come.

Relinquish. It’s not something that we do very often. I think that we are far more intent on “acquiring.” We want to acquire funds to support ourselves, we want to acquire material possessions to make our life more fulfilling, we want to acquire friends on facebook; we are a people in the pursuit of acquisition!

Jesus, however, being the true revolutionary in teaching a different way to live, known in Missio Lux as the Jesus lifestyle, teaches his disciples to “relinquish!” His whole mindset was that the more that you give away, the more that God is able to replenish what is in our hand.

Luke 9 is a passage that is clearly directed to his followers. Jesus’ disciples were thrilled that they were going on a debrief retreat after Jesus sent them out to do ministry. They envisioned acquiring Jesus’ full attention and acquiring a greater relationship with him.

However, when they got there, so did the crowds who also wanted Jesus’ attention. After the disciples were patient for a time, they went to Jesus with a plan for getting the crowd to disburse. They said, “Send the crowds away to the nearby villages and farms, so they can find food and lodging for the night. There is nothing to eat here in this remote place.” Jesus, unbelievably, tells them to “relinquish.” He tells them, “You give them something to eat.”

They looked at one another in wonder. They only had five loaves of bread and two fish to feed over 5,000 people. What is Jesus thinking?

But, Jesus taught his disciples a huge lesson that day. He took the little that they had in their hands, thanked God for it, and began to break it up for distribution. After awhile, the disciples took the food and began to pass it out. After everyone was FULL, they picked up the leftovers and there were 12 full baskets: one for each disciple.

Jesus taught them the principle of Relinquishment that day. He showed them that when we are willing to share the little we have; that it will return to us in a much bigger way. It works in every area of our lives: our time, our energy, our money, our relationships, our dreams.

We think so small. This leads us to act small and to make small decisions. But, Jesus is saying “Even a little becomes a lot when it is relinquished back to him.”

Where is Jesus speaking to you about relinquishment?

I challenge you to test this principle that he teaches us in Luke 9 and see what happens. Jesus is serious about us committing ourselves to follow him. As a matter of fact, just a few verses later in Luke 9, Jesus makes a very important invitation.

He says, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.”

Three statements: all about relinquishment.

If you want to follow him, turn around and take up your cross, live the sacrificial life Jesus modeled to us.

If you try to hang on to your life and what you have: your money, your possessions, your time, your energy, you name it, you will lose it.

But, if we give up our lives, if we relinquish the little that we have, and trust Jesus to take our loaves and fishes, we will find ourselves with 12 full baskets. We will find life.

This summer has been about finding life. It is my hope that you took seriously the call to abide and in relinquishing your plans, you discovered that Jesus has something far better! If you haven’t yet taken the plunge for RnR, I challenge you to plunge in and experience the refreshing water!

As we look towards the fall we will be focusing on living the Jesus lifestyle. We spent much of last year pursuing missio and seeking to live in authentic community, but this year we will pursue the focus of what Jesus is calling us to do as his disciples. This is the third circle of knowing God and when we live all three circles in balance: knowing God, loving one another, and serving the world, we live into the sweet spot of life! God’s heart beats in us, and overflows out onto those around us.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Climb for Captives

One of our passions in Missio Lux is to see those who are in slavery freed. More people are enslaved today than at any other point in world history. It's time for human trafficking to stop!

Two Missio Luxers are not just sitting around wishing it would stop. They are putting their shoes where their hearts are: they are climbing Mt. Raineer next weekend. Scot and Kjel are part of a team who started a Climb for Captives tradition last year. The team last year set a goal of reaching $14,410, 1 dollar for every foot of mountain height!

This year the goal is much higher: they hope to raise $40,000! The money will go to carry out an ambitious project in the notorious red-light district of Mumbai, India which is aimed at:

Rescuing 18 victims of sex-trafficking
Securing their placement in safe aftercare facilities
Pursuing the arrest of their perpetrators
Protecting other vulnerable children by restraining the hand of specific oppressors and bringing individual perpetrators to justice. Pursuing perpetrator accountability also creates a strong deterrent effect for future abuses
Continuing the transformation of Mumbai through the development of the local justice system

Perhaps you would like to make a difference for human trafficking too! Here are some ways you can get involved:

Give a financial gift online:
Create an “I Support Picture”
Purchase Climb for Captives gear:
Follow the Climb for Captives blog:
Go 10x10! Give $10 (or more of course) yourself and commit to getting 10 people to give $10 and spread the word to 10 more people.

All this can be done by going to the Climb for Captives website: or click here

Next weekend Scot and Kjel won't be sitting around at home; they will be sitting on top of the world celebrating a momentous moment for God's justice at work!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Living Jesus' Rhythm of LIfe

Jesus became very popular in the beginning of his ministry. Everyone wanted to be with him; they were intrigued with his new teaching and strange ideas and they were excited to see their bodies being healed when he prayed for them.

The disciples were pretty happy about their place alongside Jesus. They were riding the wave of his popularity. One morning they couldn’t find Jesus, and when they finally did, they said, “Where have you been? The crowds have been looking for you; they want you to pray for them.”

Jesus’ response is directly opposite what they expected to hear. He said, “We need to leave here now; for I have been called to preach the Kingdom of God in other towns because that is why I was sent.”

In the disciples’ minds, when we have a good thing going, why in the world would you walk away from it? But, Jesus was clear about his identity and his mission.

So, you may be asking, “What does this have to do with practicing a rhythm of life?”


We often do things because we are not clear about who we are as Jesus’ followers and about what he is asking us to do. When we aren’t clear on those two important areas of life, we begin to do things that are counter to what God created us to do.

One of the biggest gifts God gave us in creation is the call to rest. He created for six days and rested on the seventh. Our loving Creator set a DNA for us in our bodies, minds and spirits that we can move hard for six days, but then need a whole day to regroup and to revive!

When we ignore this rhythm in our lives; we actually become much less productive, creative, and content. Our stress level rises and our patience declines, making our relationships with those around us strained.

Sound familiar? I think it is a common challenge for almost every American right now; and a reality for many Jesus followers that I know.

So, how did Jesus, who only had 3 shorts years to accomplish his life purpose, prioritize times of rest and communion with his Father, without experiencing that familiar panicked feeling that it will never all get done?

First, he knew who he was. He was God’s son, much loved and valued. At Jesus baptism, he was given this affirmation from his Father: “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.”

The funny thing is that Jesus hadn’t done “anything significant for the Kingdom” at that point. But, the message to Jesus and to us as his followers is that we are not loved for how we perform; we are loved because of who we are.

I challenge you to meditate on that truth for the next month in our season of abiding. As you do, you will find that your need to be super busy will shift into a greater longing to be with the One who loves us just for who we are.

Second, Jesus knew his mission: he came to make disciples who would carry on his work after he was gone. He knew ultimately that he came to die. He was able to stay focused on the bigger purpose for his life so that the urgency of his disciples, the crowds and the Pharisees had little impact on his plans. He lived to please his Father and to carry out his mission. That’s it. Simple but profound.

I challenge you to press into the reality of Jesus’ mission for your life. This fall a community assessment will be available to help us as individuals and as missio communities to discover our purpose so we can take steps to align with God’s good purpose for our lives at this specific time in history.

In the meantime, as Missio Lux intentionally lives out abiding (rest and relationship) this summer, take steps to do just a couple of things different, and as you do, you will discover your stress easing up and your joy for life increasing.

I challenged one man to spend the month of August meditating on John 15:1-17: the passage on abiding. He is seeking to have his thinking aligned so that his life reflects Jesus heart for us: one that rocks back and forth between abiding (resting) with our Creator and then going to bear fruit or to live out our mission in life.

Jesus made a promise to us in John 8:31-32 “If you continue as my disciple, you shall know the truth (about your identity and your mission) and you will be set free.

That is my prayer for you and for me. Let’s press into know God’s heart for us, his identity given to us, and his mission he created us to carry out.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Abide Time is Over for Me

I had a hard time watching the calendar turn from July to August.

July was my season of abiding that was intentionally set aside for reading/reflecting/writing/praying/planning and preparation.
I didn't hold any meetings in the month of July, except the evening times which were already designed for R and R: relationship and rest!

It was a great month: except for the HUGE heatwave that we experienced in Seattle which made writing rather a dream rather than a reality!

I have a much clearer understanding of how our times of abiding bring forth growth.

It was during my early morning reflections and prayer times that I discovered ways of connecting with Jesus that were new and invigorating to my faith.

I also did some important spiritual and generational housecleaning.

I connected some dots that are important to the future of Missio Lux that probably wouldn't have come to me if I hadn't had the time to just "be" listening, waiting, resting.

Bill and I went to pick blueberries, one of my desires for my month of abiding! Actually, I've gone picking 3 times because the blueberries are absolutely spectacular this season. As we were driving home, I thought to myself, "I feel like I have actually had summer this year!"

What does this mean for Missio Lux?

It means a more rested, ready leader for the next season of "fruit bearing ministry."

It means that we were obedient to what God wants for us in our seasonal rhythm of abide/bear fruit, setting a healthy DNA for our future.

It means I can't wait for God to surprise me with the wonderful work he did while I was abiding!

If you haven't tested the whole abide/bear fruit, I encourage you to do it.
First, because it's one of the 10 commandments: keep the Sabbath holy!
Second, because this is how God designed our bodies and we will operate best if we respect his plan for us.
Third, because as we do it, we are showing that we trust God--that we know we aren't "So Important" that life can go on without our continual presence and control.
Last, because I know that God surprises us with gifts when we take this step.

I will let you know what Missio Lux' surprises will be: but you surprise me with your stories of abide.

August, here I come!