Friday, July 23, 2010

The Blind Leading the Blind

I had a kairos moment today. It involves leadership. I have been focusing on leadership this month in July as I seek to learn more clearly how Jesus led his close 12, his 72 disciples and the crowd.

So, how does the blind lead the blind?

I will start out with a story of what took place just one week ago today. I was in Michigan, reuiniting with 10 of my college friends, some I haven't seen for probably 20 years. At the end of our first night, a good friend and I tried to go down to the beach. We found the pathway but soon discovered it was pitch dark. The stairs kept changing sizes and twisted and turned, but even so at first we had a rope to hold onto. Eventually even the rope gave out. My friend called it the "Death March" because being in the dark seems like death at times.

About 3/4 of the way down, she had a big aha! She remembered that I had my phone and I could shine some light on the pathway. Even though the light was small, it gave us everything we needed to get to the bottom of the stairs and out into the most magificent sky I have seen in a very long time. Suddenly the dark was filled with brilliant light.

How was I leading my friend when I was also in the dark?

Today, as I was on my huddle call with 3dm, I heard the leader, Steve, talk about how the past 5 years of his life have looked when he has been in an intentional discipleship relationship. Suddenly, he is being held accountable for things that no one had ever looked at with him before. At times, he wanted to run to the dark and hide, but in the security of his relationship with his huddler, or discipler, he began to take his character out of the dark, hidden places and bring them into the light where it wasn't so scary. He has been able to celebrate that he is more and more living a life that looks like Jesus.

Today I read this very theme again: the blind leading the blind. We are the most effective leaders when we teach others to lead themselves. It takes the burden of leadership off of us, and puts it back into the place where the person can do the best job, when they are given trust and security and accountability.

One of the benefits too, is that when I choose to be appropriately open about my character challenges, I receive the love and support from the Body, bringing me into a place of safety and care too. This happened just last week at one of my huddles, when I opened up, they loved me well. I felt my character take a small shift closer to Jesus.

One of the reasons that Missio Lux has chosen to align with 3dm (www.weare3dm.c0m) is that I see a light of character and integrity to their lives. They are fully who they are all the time; no one is attempting to cover anything up or to take anyone down or to climb the ladder on the back of another. They have learned the art of self leadership through the lifeshape: Learning Circle which takes a kairos moment (when God breaks through and gets our attention) and gives us a structure and safe people to move around the circle of changing our mind which brings a change of behavior.

I hope that more and more I will, as a leader, make helping others to lead themselves, my highest priority as we all take the narrow road towards Jesus, the ultimate leader who teaches in the light.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Treasure Hunt

Tuesday night our Healing Prayer Team took a treasure hunt. This is what a treasure hunt is: we prayed for God to give us clues and then we set out to find the person/people that he had chosen for us to share our freedom and hope with, through Jesus. Let the light shine as we were sent out.

Our first clues came up rather fruitless, we were turned down by 3 people for prayer, but when we prayed again, we got the location and the color of hair, as well as the word "thunderbird." The thunderbird took us course a bit as we interpreted it as a car, but it had another meaning.

We walked into Safeway as we felt directed into the store and as we walked we encountered a man who said, "It's freezing in here." Now you have to know that all of us Washtonians were thrilled, it seems that summer had FINALLY arrived. It turns out this man had just moved here from Hawaii.

We started a conversation and pretty soon another man showed up: his brother. We told them that we were there to pray and asked if they wanted some prayer. They said sure, we had good aura. We asked them if they knew Jesus and one said yes, and the other said no. The one who said yes said that he was still angry about a situation and so he was rather far from God.

They told us that they had a family situation that was breaking their heart. So, we prayed about it. The funny thing is that we ran into them three times in the store and they kept telling us more things to pray about. So, we did. The final time it turns out that one of their auntie's was having brain surgery in a couple of days. But, as he told us this, he started telling us about his Grandmother's death and how he spoke to her by phone just before she died. Tears rolled down his cheeks.

We knew that we had been sent to the people that needed to be reminded of Jesus' love and hope. We prayed for the brain surgery and I just have a sense that she will be healed.

I may never see these two men again, but I left elated because anytime that we move out to "take on a missio lux 'mission of light'", joy comes. Joy came to me and joy came to the men that were touched by the heart of Jesus coming through three women who took a risk and followed God's clues to the treasure of their heart.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Battle of the D's:

It seems like a lot of challenging words start with d: discouragement, depression, despair, doubt, and disappointment. The d's can take us down and even out in our faith if we let them.

Have you ever had to battle the d's? I just spent the past few days battling them, and I can tell you it wasn't fun or even pretty. Every moment was a challenge and I kept wondering, "God, where are you?" Can you relate?

But, true to God's form, he wasn't ready to let me stay sunk down in a pile of d's!

He came and over and over again asked me if I was ready to walk out a new D: the D of Dreaming! He taught me to dream when he was showing me the vision for Missio Lux, and they were big dreams. Sometimes after awhile of struggling with small challenges, I find the dreams start becoming small or vanish altogether.

But, God is not the God of small d's, he is the God of BIG D's: DREAMS.

First, he sent a word through a friend: she saw me flipping pancakes as a little girl and she could see the Dreams in me. Next, my Psalm for the day, Ps. 126 which starts out , "When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like people who Dreamed." Right after that I looked at my nightstand and saw that the title to the new book I had purchased was called "Dreaming with God." I smiled and said, "Ok, God. I am starting to get it."

Over and over the past few days, I've been confronted with a choice: I can move towards disappointment or I can stay focused on the Dreams that God planted in me. It's my choice. But, my focus will probably help determine the outcome.

I choose to Dream. I choose to believe like Abraham that "even though his body seemed as good as dead, he did not waver in unbelief, knowing that God was able to do exactly what he had promised (in his Dreams). Romans 4.

Today you also have a choice. Will you be Abraham or will you be one that forgets the big Dreams that God has planted in you?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Ripple Effect of Serving One Another

I always say that what we do has far greater meaning and influence than what we can easily see from our vantage point.

This proved true in June when the Arbors Missio Community decided to come alongside one of the families that are part of their missio commuity. This family has recently gone through a divorce and in the stress that accompanies divorce, the yard had gotten a bit out of control and it left the Mom feeling overwhelmed and embarrassed.

So one week for three days in a row, people from the Arbors MC came together and worked on the yard; even the kids who had just gotten out of school. Before they knew it, the front yard was free of weeds, a dead tree, had some new grass and some pretty flowers.

We are learning as a community that we can't always have our eyes focused on serving people in the world, at times we need to look around and ask the question, "Who needs to be served in our missio community?"

It made a huge impact to the family that received the yard makeover, but surprisingly, it also made a bigger impact on the surrounding culdesac. Neighbors noticed and actually came outside and asked them who had helped them with their yard. When they told them it was their family from Missio Lux, the neighbors wanted to know what kind of church it was--they were activated to ask because they saw the tangible service take place.

Jesus told us that we were to do the things he did, and even bigger things than he did. But, sometimes it isn't the big things that touch the heart of the world, it is the small quiet things.

Arbors didn't help with the yard to influence the neighbors, but if they are drawn closer to Jesus and his heart for the world, this is an unintended consequence that they can celebrate!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Franciscan Prayer Speaking to Us Today

A Franciscan Prayer speaks to us today:

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.

This is my prayer for myself, for everyone who is part of Missio Lux, and for all that follow Jesus. May we continue to shine brightly with the light of Christ.

"I have come into the world as a light so that no one who follows me shall live in darkness." Jesus