Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Experiencing our Daddy's Good Gifts

Last week summer actually showed up for two days. The sun began to peek through on Tuesday afternoon and I felt a quiet nudge to look at my schedule to see if there was any possible way that a Mariners/Cubs game could be in my future Wednesday night. (The Cubs aren’t coming back to Seattle for 10 years and they have a sentimental place in my heart because Bill and I’s first date was at a Cubs game.)

Only one huddle one on one conversation Wednesday night, so I called to see if we could reschedule it to a different time. It worked for the following day. Next, I texted Bonnie to see if she was available to go; she was. The game was a go!

Wednesday was one of those summer days that you dream about. Clear blue skies and just the right temperature. That afternoon I felt a nudge to make a deposit that I’d been carrying around for a week. We’d gotten some surprise checks and I got some cash back. When we went to get the tickets, it was a sold out game so we ended up buying from a scalper who only takes cash. I actually had some since I had just gone to the bank.

Bonnie and I found our seats and couldn’t believe where they were located. First section right behind home plate and amazingly no one sat on either side of us. As we sat down and I realized that Cliff Lee, about the best pitcher in baseball was pitching, I could barely contain myself.

It was a perfect night. The weather was beautiful, Bonnie and I had a great time together, and we saw baseball like I have almost never seen before. Cliff Lee pitched all 9 innings and got 9 strike outs. Double plays, home runs and amazing catches continued to happen.

When the Mariners won 8-1, I thought I had died and gone to baseball heaven.

The next morning I woke up with the clear realization that the Lord had given me that night as a gift. He prompted me to check my schedule, nudged me towards the bank in a different part of town I’d never seen before, directed us to awesome seats and fulfilled my heart desire for an amazing baseball game between two of my favorite teams.

And, I sensed that he did it just because he loves me.

He wanted to give me a good gift, just like a loving daddy would with his kids. The best part is as I told this story to people I was able to encourage them to look for those good gifts from our Daddy too.

Some of you may be saying, “God didn’t make that happen. You did.” But, I find it so interesting that we are so willing to say, “Why did God let this happen?” when something bad happens, but are hesitant to give him credit when a blessing takes place.

I think we need to change our minds about this. As we begin to anticipate and look for good gifts from our Daddy, I think that we will see and experience more of them. The Scriptures tell us that “God did not withhold anything from us, including his son.” If he gave us his son, he is more than happy to please us in an area of our pleasure and passion.

So, here’s the invitation: get to know our Heavenly Father as Daddy.

When Jesus taught his disciples to pray to Abba in the Lord’s Prayer—he was calling them to call God, whom the Israelites wouldn’t even say his name because it was too holy, Daddy! Allow him to love you like a little child so that we can all grow up into healthy adults.

This is our challenge: to come to our Daddy like a child, letting him form a new foundation for our lives.

The new foundation includes several bricks which include an experiential knowledge of being loved generously, perfectly and completely by our Heavenly Daddy.

Read Luke 15 about the Compassionate Father. An editor named that story the Prodigal Son, but this is a misnomer. Jesus told that story to show us the depth of love, compassion and forgiveness from the Compassionate Father, not to highlight the sins of the sons.

I want to know and experience the love of that Daddy who stood on his porch night after night looking for his beloved son to come home. I want you to know it too.

Consider Psalm 37:4: Take delight in the Lord and he will fulfill the desires of your heart.

Take a moment to pray about what simple thing would delight your heart and give you a story similar to mine that you could share with those around you as we discover anew the awesome love of our Heavenly Daddy.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Missio Lux goes on Vacation

Mike and Kim are part of the Arbors Missio Commuity. They just returned from a family vacation in Hawaii. Interestingly, they found that they had a "missio lux" (mission of light) assignment from the Lord on their trip.

Kim was surprised the first day on the beach when she felt an overwhelming need to pray. She took the tools that she has learned through Misiso Lux of calling forth the presence and power of Jesus, binding and loosing, and calling for the Kingdom of God and harvest to come to answer God's call to pray.

After she had prayed, the aggitation and uneasiness that she had been feeling completely went away. Peace came instead. The next day they tried to come back to the same beach, but were prevented, so they drove to the next beach instead.

She felt the aggitation again and after a time realized that she was being called to pray again. She did the same binding and loosing, calling for the Kingdom to come from heaven to earth. Peace came instantly.

The process continued for all 7 days they were in Hawaii. They went to a different beach everyday as they began to understand that they had a specific assignment to live kingdom, even as they found themselves on vacation in the midst of paradise.

I smile as I hear this story. I am coming to know the Jesus on the beach (after the resurrection) who is able to give us abudance and at the same time still call us to minister right where we are at the moment.

I wonder what the changes will be on those beaches. I wonder if the change in atmosphere will bring long term difference to the island. One thing is for sure: Kim fulfilled her heavenly assignment in a way that worked in her life and brought tremendous meaning to an already amazing vacation.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Scot Goes to the One Institute

Scot is the man on the left. He is next to Dave; this picture was taken at the Learning Community with 3dm http://www.weare3dm.com/ in May.
Scot is a 20 something entrepreneur who started a business with his partner Reuben called "Adventure Teaching" http://www.adventureteaching.com/ in South Korea.
They recruit and hire teachers to come and teach English in South Korea. They also just recently opened a store called "The Arrival Store" http://www.thearrivalstore.com/ which helps supply the new recruits with everything they need to set up home in a new country: coffee pots, cell phones, sheets, etc. Check it out!
But, this week, Scot isn't think about hiring teachers or selling coffee pots, he is one of the 33 invited guests to the One Institute in Phoenix. The One Institute www.theoneinstitute.com brings together young entrepreneurs from business, health care, education, the church, government, media and the family to connect with one another to develop new enterprises which will help strengthen the ability for Jesus followers to make an impact into the world.
This was a huge invitation for Scot to receive. He got a phone call from one of the One Institute leaders who told him this story: "You weren't originally on the list. But, I couldn't sleep for two nights because I knew there were people that we had skipped over that needed to be present at our One Institute week. When I got to your name, I knew you were important to have present."
Scot has had many people speak over his life telling him that God has a great plan for him. He originally thought that he was called to be a pastor and go to seminary, but now understands that he can make an even bigger impact by using his entrepreneurial skills and gifts to be a light present in the marketplace. He knows that the profits he makes can be re-invested to live out kingdom ministry.
Missio Lux celebrates anyone who understands that their life in the secular world is valuable to God's kingdom. As we recognize the reality that we are "missio lux" missions of light, we can give those valuable areas of our make up to help bring creative solutions to challenges that keep people in poverty, hopelessness, and brokenness.
Scot has a very bright future ahead of him in two ways: he will succeed at whatever he does because he has integrity, character, imagination , adventure and determination, but even more, he is filled with the bright light of Jesus which shines wherever he is.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Learning to "Walk" in Faith

I saw a man hobble into the Healing Prayer Worship Service Tuesday night. He was hunched over and shuffled his feet. It seemed that he could barely walk.

However, I learned differently at the conclusion of the service. He came forward to meet me and we began to talk about his current life. He has Lou Gherigs Diesease. He is unable to work, care for his 3 year old son, and his wife just left him for another man.

These are not circumstances that most of us would consider a good life.

However, I was moved by what I heard him say. He doesn't blame his wife; he knows that it has been hard on her. He is moving soon to live up north so that he can live with his mother. He sees that God heals and believes that he will be moving one day as a healing prayer minister. He knows that God has already healed his spirit and his emotions, and that one day his body will be healed too.

He spends his day listening to Scripture because it is now hard for him to read. He is getting so much life through his engagement of the Bible that he seems almost unable to focus on the hardships that he is walking through.

I have been reflecting this week on what is a faithful "walk" of faith. I can walk miles at a time at even a rather fast pace. However, my walk seems to pale in comparison to my new friend who has to push his feet along to get anywhere because his walk is in a life of faith that resembles the people mentioned in Hebrews 11.

We prayed for our new friend one more time before he left. When I was praying I saw the picture of a catapiller which transformed into a butterfly. It is my hope that this was a sign that his body will begin to fly on earth, but even if it doesn't, I know he has experienced the most improtant healing: salvation and peace despite a whirlwind storm of circumstances.

I can only pray that if I encounter difficulty that even comes close to resembling his that I can "walk" out my faith like he has modeled.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The New Busy

Have you heard the term “The New Busy?”

The New Busy is defined by being intentional about our life choices; making decisions to focus on certain things that matter rather than to be constantly driven by the urgent.

It’s the different between living intentionally and urgent.

Last month the Learning Community Team went to South Carolina and heard a man named Alan Hirsch speak. Alan Hirsch is a missiologist who is well respected in both academic and church circles. One of his directions to us was to continually contextulize the Gospel. In other words, we need to bring Jesus’ good news to the real areas of people’s lives.

I’ve been reflecting on the question, “What is the best news to the people around me?

Those questions led me to ask the questions: What is the most valuable commodity right now? What are people’s biggest challenges? and What do they seem most frustrated by in their regular daily life?

I’ve come to the conclusion that time is our most precious commodity and that people in my cultural context are most frustrated by the urgent demands around them and the resulting emptiness of life. It seems that getting to live into the important and intentional seems to be an elusive goal to most people.

So, this leads me to ask the question, “How can we are Jesus’ disciples model a life of the new busy?”

Jesus was never rushed or frantic. He lived into an intentional rhythm of connecting with his father, receiving direction from him, and then living it out. Jesus knew when it was time to get away from the pressure of life and spend time in authentic relationships with the people who mattered most in his life: his disciples. He knew that there were times that he needed to have a huge energy outlay, but that a time of rest was just around the corner.

Jesus is our model for the New Busy.

So, how can we intentionally learn from Jesus how to walk out the new busy so that we feel like we are flowing in a right rhythm of resting and working, as well as experiencing connection with people that are important to us. How are we structuring our lives so that we are maximizing our opportunities to live into the unique dreams that God implanted into us before creation?

If we can learn this, we are not just discovering the basic premise of the New Busy, but we are following the lifestyle that Jesus teaches us to live. The added bonus, however, is that we are also modeling a life that others around us will observe and many will begin to ask us questions about how we can live so differently while our circumstances are still so similar.

Missio Lux’ mission statement is “We exist to experience and share the freedom and hope that Jesus offers everyone.”

We can not share what we ourselves haven’t experienced. It is our challenge to have a mindset that we can live out the New Busy because in following Jesus’ directives for life, we will naturally discover how to be intentional with our time, energy and money for the areas that matter most. As we experience the freedom which comes from living the right priorities of rest and work, connection with our loving Heavenly Father and the important people in our lives, a balance between fun and focus, and generosity of our time, energy and money, we are able to share it with others.

We have an invitation to live out Matthew 11:28-30: Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Recently, I had a day where I was just so tired and weary. I was reminded of the invitation in this passage and spent time reflecting on it and inviting Jesus to give me his rest. The day turned out to be amazing. I was given energy, laughter, fun and the ability to see much of my to do list get checked off. I saw what Jesus does when we give him an invitation to meet us in our places of challenge.

This is our challenge: to take ourselves off the treadmill of constant busy and to combat the lie that we can do this life by ourselves, and to intentionally ask Jesus to help us live the New Busy. Jesus is a gentleman and he won’t force himself on us; but he will come running when the door of invitation opens.

So, how about it?

Are you willing to take some time this summer to reflect on those areas where you want to live the New Busy, and then to invite Jesus to teach you how to live into it?

I’d love to hear from you! Send in your ideas of how to walk in the New Busy and I will share them with everyone else. May our witness have impact into our culture, bringing forth Jesus’ truly good news to people’s place of need.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Celebrate Recovery Concert by the Rag Band

Celebrate Recovery (jointly led by Missio Lux and Pine Lake Covenant Church) Monday night was a bit different than our regular format. The Rag Band, just put out their second CD entitled "In Jesus' Name We Play."

They held a concert to celebrate their CD release and to play their new music. All the music has been written by the band leader, Jay Boone, and it is excellent: both in their musical ability and also in their message of how God loves us and is present with us through recovery.

I find myself in awe of this band. Yes, it is great music but even better is the lifestyle that I see these men walk. They are committed to following Jesus and to walking the recovery lifestyle. They are so faithful to Celebrate Recovery: playing almost every week since CR started almost 2 1/2 years ago. Their enthusiasm for life, music, relationships and recovery is contagious; they make coming to CR a lot of fun.

Missio Lux is hosting a Concert in the Park for the Rag Band Sunday, July 11th at Beaverlake Park in Sammamish, WA in following our "Summer Fun in the Sun" theme for the summer. We will have a picnic together, followed by their concert.
Sticking with our 3 values of Knowing God, Loving One Another, and Serving the World, the Rag Band has chosen a "missio" to support through the procedes of their CD. They are supporting a woman named Jean McCallister who several years ago, packed up her belongings, sold most of them and took off for Rwanda to make an impact on the world. She meets weekly with at risk teenagers in a parking lot for Bible Study. Through their time together, they have prayed about starting a donut shop to provide employment for these young men who long to have meaningful work.

Hope to see you there! If you are interested in obtaining a copy of their CD and making a contribution to their missio project, leave a comment!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Missio Community Arbors Hosts 3 Amazing Visitors

Sunday night at the Arbors Missio Community was an extra special experience. We were blessed to host three visitors from around the world: Dot from Nigeria, Albert from Jamaica and Franck, currently living in Montreal.

Laurie, whom I blogged about a few days ago, started the Bakke Graduate Institute this month. She has been in an intensive the past two weeks and has gotten to know these amazing men. She invited them to come and we are so glad that she did.

All three told their stories. Dot, from Nigeria, is a pastor who has a vision to help bring unity to the very wide division between Christians and Muslims in his country through education. His church is seeking to start a school to provide solid academic education.

Albert is well known in Jamaica. He has a booming voice that lends well to radio, so once a week his voice can be heard throughout Jamaica speaking about Jesus and his love for their country. Albert finds himself in the urban centers, where violence is strong. He told us that Jamaica has the dubious reputation for being the murder capital of the world.

Franck is originally from South Africa and France, but he now lives in Montreal where he is an entreprenerial businessman. He spoke of the church in Montreal being on lifesupport because it is predominately Catholic and people are leaving the church in droves because of the abuse issues.

Strangely, I was in Montreal two years ago and had an experience where I felt that the Lord showed me the very same thing. They have several cathedrals in Montreal so we stopped at one of them. When it went inside it was dimantled and a new evangelical church was meeting in it. I had a strong sense that God was about to do a new thing.

The new thing is that God is at work in the marketplace. He is inspiring businessmen like Franck to be the church in their community. After Franck spoke, I spoke the words of Joshua to him and said that he was one that God was raising up to "lead the new thing." The other two men with Franck said that he was in the company of witnesses and they confirmed the word.

The night wasn't finished yet. We decided to spend some of our missio community funds and ended up spending it three different ways: one to give a one time gift to help support Dot's educational work, to sponsor a child through Seeds of Hope and then to help one of our community members who is going through a hard divorce and finds herself in need of some funds.

God's timing is always so fun to observe. We had been talking about giving Susie a gift for a few weeks, but hadn't gotten it done. Well, the very day that we told her about it, she had a car accident where she got hit and her car may have been totalled. What a comfort to know that God had gone ahead of her to provide.

It's fun to be able to respond to Holy Spirit's prompting to be generous!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Miracle of Hopes of Hope

Seeds of Hope's missio event: Hopes for Hope continues to inspire:

Read more about it from the Seeds of Hope blog: www.seedsofhopesudan.blogspot.com/

Reflections on Releasing Jesus' Presence and Power, part 2

Yesterday I found myself in a hospital room to pray with a man before his surgery to remove a significant tumor in his body. This a typical thing for a pastor to do; but I find myself wondering how often we actually move in the reality that Jesus died for that tumor and his power is present to bring healing to our bodies.

All around the world people are discovering the truth of Jesus’ healing power through experience. Hundreds of people receive sight when they are blind, crutches are thrown away, migraines are healed and even cancer and Aids is cured.

This often makes us in the US shake our head in disbelief because it is so foreign to our experience. But, I wonder if it is so much harder to believe that Jesus heals because all around us we have medicine and technology to bring healing, and they are often successful.

Jesus came proclaiming, “The Kingdom of God has come.” He demonstrated that the Kingdom had come through supernatural displays. Storms were immediately calmed, food stretched to feed thousands, but most often, the supernatural displays came through healings and people being set free of demonic oppression.

So, realistically, when Jesus tells us as his disciples that our main role is to proclaim the kingdom of God and then to go and heal, cure diseases and to cast out demons, how do we do this in an environment where we are able to make so much happen on our own?

How do we live in a place of great faith to be able to do the things that Jesus himself did when we are busy inventing the next great technology or operating ourselves to remove tumors or disease?

I believe it comes back to the starting point of the phrase “Releasing the Presence and Power of Jesus.” It starts with his presence. His presence comes as peace in the midst of conflict. It comes as gentle rain in the midst of drought. It comes as glory in the midst of worship. It comes with unity in the midst of division. Jesus’ presence changes the world.

It is in response to his presence that the power comes. Jesus’ power is different than worldly power. Jesus’ power speaks to a tumor and it shrinks. His power confronts evil and it shrivels or it runs away. His power comes and brings salvation to whole villages and transformation to entire cities. His power brings shalom to injustice.

Leading Missio Lux has been the most positive experience for my spiritual life. When all the bells and whistles of the church are removed, I am confronted with the stark reality of Jesus’ words and commandments. I have been forced to dig deeper for his direction and to seek to live his lifestyle on a moment to moment basis, rather than even a daily basis.

I am still learning.

We, as Missio Lux, are still learning.

I keep thinking about the Jesus that the disciples’ saw on the beach after his resurrection and why they didn’t recognize him until after the miracle of the haul of fish.

I wonder if it perhaps there is a revelation of who Jesus is when we are confronted with his Presence and Power. The disciples on the beach encountered both presence and power. They ate an unforgettable breakfast after their challenge of hauling in a 153 large fish.

Where are you challenged to know Jesus in a greater way?
Where do you long to experience his presence?
If you are filled with longing in that place, I encourage you to begin to thank Jesus that you will experience him that way, as he is the one who births those desires within us, and he will fulfill our godly desires. Proverbs 37:4 tells us: “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will fulfill the desires of our heart.”

Where are you inviting Jesus to bring his power in your life?
Is it in the midst of a work crisis, or a relationship dispute?
Is it in an area of your body where disease has settled in for the long term, or is it in an everyday headache?
Is it in seeking to walk a lifestyle like Jesus?

This is our reality. If we are going to follow Jesus in all the ways he taught and modeled, we can’t do it on our own. We must move in rhythm with his presence and seek to release his power in the midst of his presence as we, too, experience the Kingdom of God coming from heaven to earth.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Laurie Goes to Bakke Graduate University

Laurie is a Missio Lux leader who has been in seminary for the past two years, but a just a few weeks ago, her educational pursuit took a major turn in a very quick way.

Laurie attended the 3dm Learning Community (http://www.weare3dm.com/) in South Carolina with our team the beginning in May. She met Alan Hirsch and asked his opinion for the direction her educational steps should take. He encouraged her to look into the Bakke Graduate University to think about getting a doctor of ministry in Global Leadership, instead of a traditional MDiv degree.

A couple of weeks after Laurie got home, God showed up and literally parted the waters for Laurie to make the transition. She was fasting one day as she asked God to give her direction and when she called Bakke, they encouraged her to join the 2 week intensive that was starting just 10 days later. If she didn't start with the intensive, she would have to wait until June 2011 to begin.

She has children in school, so she took a chance and called her parents to see if they could come on short notice to be with the kids. They could. Her husband gave her a thumbs up of support. She already had the money for this beginning sesson as the Lord had provided it earlier. Nothing stood in her way.

As Laurie researched the program she discovered what a great fit it would be with her work in Missio Lux. Everything she does for the program is connected to the ministry that she is currently leading, so it will have direct application. They require a Learning Community to support each student, so many of us in Missio Lux will be able to be part of Laurie's Learning Community to both support her and to learn the applications and growth she is experiencing.

I see the need for education to move this way. It needs to be relationally connected so that personal growth and encouragement are an integral part of the process. It needs to be contextulized for the person, where they are. planted and how God is working. Direct application takes the learning from head knowledge into a place of full integration.

Laurie is being immersed right now as I write, getting close to finishing her grueling first week before she has Sunday off and then starts a second week. Please offer up a prayer for her journey and give thanks for how God directly intervened to show her the way.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Light Shining into Darkness

It's a gift to have the ability to impact the world in such dark places in our young stage of development. Right now two Missio Luxer's are in some of the world's most dark and dangerous places.

The first person is Arok Garang, our Sudanese brother who is one of our leaders of the Seeds of Hope Missio Community whose missio is to help get Sudanese orphans into boarding school, so that when they graduate, they can go back into their decimated village to help become part of the solution for making it a viable place to live.

Arok lives in Denver but he left in late May to go to Africa to do two things: first, to visit the children to check on their progress, encourage Gak who is their guardian in Kenya, and to check in with the boarding school to see how things are going.

Arok's second purpose is to return to his village for the first time since he had to flee as a young boy, forcing him to accept the title of Lost Boy, along with many thousands of other lost boys. Arok tried to return lto Pallyu last year, but the roads were too bad and he couldn't get there.

This will be a challenging trip for a couple of reasons: it is very dangerous in Sudan and it will be the first time that Arok has physically faced the reality of that day over 20 years ago when his whole village was burned, his parents were killed and he was separated from his siblings. We have been praying that he will not experience post traumatic stress syndrome when he first arrives.

The other Missio Luxer' who is penetrating the darkness of the world can't be named or the location disclosed because it is just too dangerous. But, one missio community has been praying for the whole year for God to open a door to this country and God heard their prayers and answered. She was invited to come by important leaders in the country and will be there long enough to establish relationship.

I am reminded to pray several times a day for Arok and the woman. I get a picture often of a very dark circle and them at the tip of an arrow as they live out the reality of John 1:5: "The light penetrates the darkness and the darkness cannot extinguish it."

Friday, June 11, 2010

13 Healing Prayer Ministers Comissioned at Sunday Celebration

Our Celebration Sunday was a highlight for many in Missio Lux because we commissioned 13 new Healing Prayer Ministers for the Healing Prayer Missio Community.

These 13 completed the four weekend training throughout this year which covered all areas of healing: physical, emotional and spiritual. We also added a weekend to help integrate all three areas and to give more opportunity for the emerging prayer ministers to receive prayer and to give prayer.

One of the gifts of Missio Lux' structure is that we are not geographically bound. We are able to commission one woman who lives an hour and a half north of Seattle because she is using her new skill in her sphere of influence and faith community. She is able to stay connected to our ministry through facebook, emails, and the website. She is so drawn too by what is happening that she has made the trek down 1-5 to join us on several occasions.

One woman who was commissioned is preparing to start a daytime training next year. She has a heart for women who have more time during the day while their kids are in school than at night, which is when our current team meets.

Living kingdom means that we recognize that every day is an opportunity to help share what we have already experienced in getting free. And, I am convinced that when we walk in the freedom that Jesus purchased for us through his sacrifice and resurrection, this is the area that makes us live into the sweet spot of life and gives the world a reason to "like what they see" (the Message, Acts 2).

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Reflections on Releasing the Presence and Power of Jesus

God wants us to pay attention to the reality of what it means to his kingdom to “Release the Presence and Power of Jesus.” He is making it very clear to me since Sunday in a variety of ways.

But, before I tell what those are: I want to explore the idea of “Releasing the Power and Presence of Jesus.” The reality is that since Pentecost all disciples of Jesus have Holy Spirit sealed within them. The Scriptures tell us that “Holy Spirit sealed within us is a gift guaranteeing our future our future life in heaven” (Ephesians 1 and 2nd Cor 1).

But, Holy Spirit being sealed in us today is an even bigger gift because when God looks at us, he is literally looking back at himself. 2nd Cor 3:18 tells us “And, we are mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And, as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more.”

Because Holy Spirit lives in us and we reflect God’s glory through his presence, the truth is that we take the Lord’s presence wherever we go. We take his presence to work with us. We take his presence to school, to our neighbor’s parties, to our extended family gatherings, to Starbucks for our morning coffee, to our conversations with our spouses or friends. The idea is “Holy Spirit will travel!”

One important thing that Jesus did is that wherever he was, healing happened. This applies to us too: when we go into situations and bring his presence, we also bring his power to save, heal and deliver with us. It’s as if when we understand this principal, we are in the shower getting wet because the water is turned on.

So, Sunday night when Missio Lux commissioned 14 Healing Prayer Ministers, I spoke on “Releasing the Presence and Power of Jesus.” Well, it was the first time that I have seen people literally drawn into our gatherings by the sheer presence of Jesus released.

I met one man during our ministry time and asked him if he was a family member of one of the Prayer Ministers. He told me “No, I came because I saw that people were meeting.” He was drawn in by the Presence of Jesus released.

As we were finishing dinner, one family was leaving and they ran into three men who told them, “We are here to see Jesus.” They are Hindu, but they told us that they were “compelled” to drive into the parking lot to see Jesus.

If that wasn’t clear enough, yesterday I went to get a massage. I have a massage therapist that I use on a regular basis; he is in his 20’s and is Catholic. When he found out that I was a pastor, he began to talk about his life in the Catholic Church. After many conversations, I asked him if he has ever read the Bible and he told me no. I encouraged him to do so.

I hadn’t been back for several weeks because of my travel schedule and when I saw him yesterday, this is what he said, “When you weren’t here, I missed the Presence.” He didn’t say he missed me, he was telling me he missed the Presence of Jesus I bring.
He also proceeded to tell me that he started reading the New Testament and that he is into Acts now and that he felt the Lord telling him that “Now is the time that I want to reveal myself to you.”
The Lord is giving us these true life experiences to help us hear and understand that one of his strategies for showing people his love for them is to teach his disciples that “releasing his presence and power” is a simple way to impact the world.

Bill Johnson says this, “Our greatest privilege in life is to learn to be a person that God will rest upon. He is in all of us by covenant, and will never leave. But he is not upon all of us. The challenge we face is to learn to be people who host the presence of the Lord as our greatest calling in life. While he is in me for my sake, He is upon me for yours. When the Lord rests upon a person, there is actually an atmospheric change that takes place wherever that person goes.”
So, practically how do we do it?
It’s simple.

First, recognize that you carry the presence of Jesus in you because Holy Spirit is sealed within you for eternity.

Make a decision to pray a simple prayer under your breath in every situation throughout your day: “Jesus, thank you that you are in me. What do you want to release to this situation today?”
Listen for his answer. As you hear words such as love, peace, faith, healing, then you know that he wants the people in that environment to experience his presence in those ways.

Pray to release it.
Then thank him that he is present and ask him if there is anything else he wants to do: it may include introducing you to someone that he wants you to share his love with more tangibly through a verbal witness or a prayer for healing, or it may include making a connection to someone.

Releasing the presence and power is both an invitation and challenge. Our invitation is to recognize that Jesus himself considers us his partners in his work, and our challenge is to live a life of awareness of our identity as hosting his presence and then to listen to what he is saying and to respond as he shows us to do.
So, go ahead. Take the plunge and find out how much fun it is to swim in the water with Jesus. You may find that you are walking on it before you know it.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

It Takes a Family

Missio Lux loves to help one another. We are developing a network of skills that people are good at and we are asking one another to help out.

Take this afternoon for example: I had a revolving door as Chas left. Chas is one of Missio Lux' Celebrate Recovery leaders, but he is also an amazing painter! He has been painting our house for a few weeks in his spare time. So, as he left for lunch, Diana came to help me organize our house.

Diana is an organizer extraordinare! Peaceseekers Missio Community donated some money for Diana to come and help me organize my office and garage from all the Missio Lux stuff we accumulate--one of the joys of living as tabernacle and not as a temple in a permanent space!

Right after Diana arrived, Lance came with food for our Celebration Sunday. Lance is an amazing cook so he made the main dish for 100 people. He loves to do it; especially because Bill and I share a bottle of our homemade wine with him when he brings food!

So, I realized with all the comings and goings what a gift it is to have each one of these people in my life as well as to share a common way of living: inviting one another into our lives and sharing those valuable gifts that we have in our hands with one another!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Processing today's 3dm Huddle

Today I huddled with Steve Cockram, one of the leaders of 3dm Learning Communities that Missio Lux is part of. Our weekly huddle includes other ministry leaders around the US, including one leader who just uprooted his family to go across country to South Carolina to join the 3dm team.

Every week we have a specific topic and today the topic was Next Steps in the 3dm process. So far, out of the 3 retreats that we have attended, we have covered the topics of Building a Discipleship Culture, Training and Equipping Missional Leaders, and Launching Missio Communities.

Our Learning Community team leaves for the fourth retreat in November where the topic will be "Establishing Missio Outposts."

The idea is that once leaders are trained and they carry an obvious anointing from the Lord to lead ministry then discovering where God is specifically working and joining him in it is the next step. These become missio outposts.

These missional outposts can be anywhere God is obviously at work. The possibilities are endless.

The final step after we have built disciples who are passionate about Jesus and identified leaders who will be faithful to follow Jesus in ministry through establishing missio community which can evolve into a specific strategy in establishing missio centers, then we can truly multiply who we are and what we are doing through launching our Learning Communities.

Bringing people together with like minds, passion and vision, as well as vehicle and vocabularly enable us to exponentially multiply what God can do as we learn from one another in a relational setting.

One of the men in our huddle today said, "I am part of a mainline denomination and I don't see any area of accountability for leaders to intentionally live missionally. And, those who desire to often struggle because they don't have the 'vehicle' (structure) or the 'relational support' to do it. So, the good idea stays right there, as a good idea."

The weekly huddle has turned out to be one of the most important hours of my week. I am learning and growing in a relationship of high accountability and high support. I am being held accountable to truly walk out my life in the way Jesus teaches but I am also developing good friendships with those that are a bit ahead and can encourage my journey.

Once again, can't wait to see what Jesus is going to do next through me and in Missio Lux

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Does Jesus Love a Good Party?

Does Jesus Love a Good Party?”

We all know that Jesus can be described as loving, forgiving, compassionate, and holy. But, how many of us describe one of Jesus’ characteristics as “party lover?” Let’s think about it, though, how many scenarios in the Gospels are found right in the middle of a party?

Three of the four Gospels find Jesus at parties in their first two chapters. It’s as if Jesus got baptized, went into the desert to be tempted by the Devil, and then came out and went to parties! (Actually the only Gospel that doesn’t start with a party is Matthew and his audience was the Jewish people who were taught to follow the rules.)

John tells us of the wedding that Jesus attended. It must have been a pretty fun wedding because they ran out of wine. Jesus’ mother knew that the solution wasn’t to shut down the party, but to go to Jesus and to ask him to somehow keep it going. She obviously wasn’t expecting Jesus to give her a lecture on why it’s wrong to drink. So, what did Jesus do? He turned water into wine; letting his Mother and the host know that he cared about the party and wanted it to be everything they had dreamed for it to become.

Luke tells us that Jesus went straight from the synagogue where he announced his ministry to a party at Peter’s house. The party was interrupted with Peter’s mother in law being very sick; it says that everyone begged Jesus to heal her. When Jesus responds in compassion and heals her; Luke tells us that “she got right up and prepared a meal for everyone.” Once again, Jesus cares about the party and brings his contribution to make it special. (This passage makes me smile as I wonder if she was the only good cook in the house!)

Mark also tells the story of Peter’s memorable party, but he adds more about parties in the second chapter. It quickly occurs to the Pharisees and John the Baptist’ disciples that Jesus and his disciples are having a lot more fun than they are. So, they send him a question, “Why don’t you fast?” Jesus’ reply is that wedding guests don’t fast while celebrating with the groom. He spoke of new wine being poured into new wineskins. Is it possible that part of the new wine is permission and an expectation to have a good time when we gather?

The very next segment in Mark 2 is a discussion about the Sabbath. Once again, the Pharisees are upset with Jesus because he isn’t observing the 468 laws of Sabbath that the Pharisees and Sadducees had identified. Jesus replies basically, “The Sabbath is for people to enjoy, not to dread.”

Somewhere along the way, we have gotten the idea that to follow Jesus is to be serious and not to have a lot of fun, so we shut off the “party valve.”

But, is this the good news that Jesus intended?

I know that I have fallen into the mistake of thinking that when we officially gather as Missio Lux that we need to make sure that some “spiritual activity” happens. However, I am beginning to understand that the less I focus on this, the more that Jesus himself shows up in the midst of the party and brings his new wine. It doesn’t have to be legislated.

In fact, I am beginning to realize that we can embrace parties as times to celebrate our friendships and to embrace new friendships, just being ourselves and knowing that because we are passionate about Jesus, talk about him in our lives will happen. In fact, it will happen very naturally making it all the more enticing for someone who does not yet know “Jesus the Party Lover.” More and more this looks like the good news to me!

Here’s my challenge: search the Scriptures.

Read about the times that Jesus spoke to Simon about loving well (Luke 7). Read about when Jesus took a teaching time and turned it into a party when he multiplied the loaves and fishes into a meal for thousands (Luke 9). Read about the last party of the Passover when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet (John 13).

Do you see a fun loving person when you read these passages?

Where do you need to make a mental adjustment about who Jesus is?

And, here’s my invitation to you: Have a party!

Make it fun. Include good food, good company and maybe even some good wine. Before everyone comes, just take a moment to invite Jesus to come and join the party and then relax and let the party flow. See what happens. Does Jesus make his presence known in a natural way?

I am looking forward to this summer. Missio Lux’ theme for this summer is Fun! We are looking for different ways of connecting that are natural and fun and will make our Seattle summer something to remember. One thing we know for sure, when Jesus shows up at our party, life will never be the same again.