Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Missio Lux has a Special VIsitor from India

Luke Lewis, Pastor Prince, and Tamara after the Gathering
Sometimes life surprises us. We think that we are meeting one person and it turns out that God sends us a spiritual giant....this happened at Missio Lux last night.

Luke is the man who is trying to go to India to lead a training for the Sunday School teachers from 85 different churches....he hasn't been able to go because the government hasn't granted him the required visa to go.  So, he waits.  We all wait and pray, as we know that God has big plans for what he is going to do in India through Luke's presence.

Meanwhile, Luke supports two orphan children in India through Immanuel Fellowship Ministries. The leader of IFM is Pastor Prince Thomas.  He was our surprise visitor last night!

Pastor Prince told us one amazing story after another.  He spoke of being a regular man in India until one day he had a visitation from Jesus who called him to go to an Indian state where there is not even one Christian.  He went almost immediately, with no job or plan for support. For three years, he witnessed to the power of Jesus, but not one person turned to follow him.

He was very discouraged and wanted to quit, but one day he sensed the Lord say to him, "Prayer walk around the city and bind up the demons.  After you do that, declare that their eyes are opened and their hearts are softened to follow me."  So, Pastor Prince did just that.

He also found the command in Luke 10 to pray for the harvesters and look for the Person of Peace.  The Person of Peace is one that welcomes you, listens to you and serves you.  They are ones that God is preparing to bring forth a harvest--through their spheres of influence. Because once a Person of Peace meets Jesus, they tell everyone they know and they usually have a LOT of friends!

God brought a Person of Peace into Prince's life and the man gave Pastor Prince an invitation to pray for his bedridden mother in law.  She had been in bed for 15 years paralyzed but after Prince prayed for her she got up healed!  This brought a storm of people into their house to see what had happened and Pastor Prince was able to share the good news of Jesus, who saves us not just for salvation in heaven, but also protection, salvation, healing and deliverance, and provision today! 

That day almost 30 people gave their lives to Jesus and the first house church was born.  It hasn't stopped since....just a little over 10 years later, the Indian State of Haryana, which previously didn't have one Christian follower, now has 265 house churches in villages all over Haryana!

This is what God can do with the power of the Gospel displayed through signs, wonders and miracles, and a man who believes in a God who can do the impossible and a great replication strategy!  

Those of us who were able to spend time with Pastor Prince last night were deeply moved and realized what a gift that God had brought him into our midst!  We can learn from him in Missio Lux and are happy that he is now our new friend!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Celebrate Recovery Team goes to the Summit

Part of the Celebrate Recovery Team at the CR Summit 

Last week six members of the Celebrate Recovery Ministry, shared jointly by Missio Lux and our parent church, Pine Lake Covenant, went to the CR Summit at Saddleback Church in Orange County.  The amazing thing about their visit is that all of the trip was paid for through their missio community funds.  

Missio Lux' 75/25% split for finances is intentional:  75% goes to support their community in their area of mission, and 25% goes to support the whole, which consists mostly of administrative costs.

We keep our administrative costs for website, supplies, resources, and costs for leadership to a minimum so that each missio community has their funds freed up to do their work of mission.  In Celebrate Recovery's case, to support their work to help people heal from their hurts, habits and hang-ups through Christian 12 step.

This is the first time that a significant number of the team has gone to the Summit.  It's been good timing as CR has ministered faithfully, week after week, for almost four years.  That's a long time to show up each week to put on a BBQ and then a worship and open meeting where either a testimony or a teaching is given.  After the large group time, men and women divide up into open share groups where they are each given a few minutes to share what is taking place in their lives as they seek to walk a lifestyle of recovery.

When I asked the CR leaders why they do  continue to show up each week, their answer is usually along the lines of "I get so inspired by seeing people make valuable changes in their lives, it keeps me going," or "It keeps me accountable to live a 12 step lifestyle, which I know honors Jesus."

The final aspect of Celebrate Recovery is 12 Step Groups.  These are also divided up by gender, and are the most serious aspect of the CR ministry.  They are the vehicle where the participants dig deep to discover where they have experienced hurts, habits and hang-ups which has kept them from a living a healthy lifestyle that would please God.  Those that do the hard work in 12 step are able to reach out and help others:  it is the cycle of giving back for the help that they have received!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Have you seen the Movie, "The Help?"

Last night, my daughters and I went to see the movie, "The Help."  It's a wonderful story about a young college graduate from Jackson, Mississippi, who ended up convincing a black maid to tell her the stories of what it is like to work for white women.  Of course, this maid works for one of Skeeter;s, as the author is nicknamed, friends.

The story speaks of courage on both ends of the spectrum.  The first is, of course, the first maid and the many others who follows her lead.  The risk they took involved losing their job, getting arrested, and having their reputation disparaged.  But, they took those risks because the pain of living life the same way as they had been, seemed more painful than walking through persecution to a life of freedom.

Interestingly, Skeeter, also needed courage. She was basically going against every social and cultural norm to befriend the maids, and to tell their stories.  She had to open her eyes to the injustice that was all around her, in blinding red lights, even though for much of her life she had accepted it as normal.  She lost much in the process, even losing the love of her life because he couldn't accept her choice to write the book.  In the end, however, what she in her awakening became such a part of her that she was willing to stay in Jackson to live out the persecution with the maids. 

She had to go against the wishes of her friends and even make an "accidental error" in the society newsletter that created a yard full of "commodes" in her childhood best friend's yard.  This is quite humorous because her friend was pressuring her to highlight the initiative to get everyone to put a "colored" bathroom in their homes. Skeeter was so appalled by this initiative that she found many ways to go around putting it in the newsletter.

This movie profoundly affected me last night because I see parallels to my own life in this story.  I have also written a book on Identity, and know that the publication of it will be life changing to me.  I know that I will receive criticism about it as it challenges some of the social and cultural norms of the Church, things that I always took for granted as being right, but as I've gone deeper in my study of the Scripture and deeper in my spirit life with Christ, I am being awakened, like Skeeter, to a whole reality that I didn't know existed.

It's taking courage for me to open my eyes and walk this new lifestyle that the Lord has called me to walk with him; and it will take courage, like the black maids, for those who read it to make the pivotal changes that the book will awaken within them.  My hope is that the reader's choice of living status quo seems much more painful than the choice to join the journey of discovering the truth about our identity and walking it out.

Keep your eyes posted for the publication of the book, whose working title is Identity Crisis:  It's Time to Reclaim the Truth of Who We Are!  Hopefully, it will be coming out around the first of the year....and together we can courageously walk in the new awareness of what it means to be a beloved child of the King of the Universe!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Jesus Comes to Oprah's Ball

God is blowing a new wind.  It's a wind that is crossing all kinds of barriers that have been erected through the years; our differences becoming more important to us than our unity in knowing that we are people loved by our Creator who desires to have a relationship with us.

Remember the Shack?  That book pointed countless numbers of people to Jesus, and yet, the criticism leveled against it was thick and unyielding.

A long time ago, when I was at the start of this whole adventurous journey that I've been invited to join, I was sitting, broken hearted in a church service, having come out of a painful ministry situation that almost broke me.  As I was sitting there, I suddenly saw a box, and then I heard the words, "You've had me in a box, and I want to removed your boxes," as I saw one side after another ripped down.

This is what my Creator Creative God has done for the past 15 years.  He has shown me sides of himself that surprise and stun me.  And, I have to wonder, would this Creative Creator rather be at an Oprah's ball where he gets to surprise people, or would he rather be in a stuffy church service that is timed down to the minute?

Watch this 5 minute video and see for yourself which choice he makes.  Listen to Diane Sawyer as she says, "This was the most transcendent experience that I will probably ever have."  Watch those that lift their hands in praise, almost because they can't help themselves.  Consider the words at the end of how one man is going to choose to live after he experienced  the holy invading the ordinary.  He's going to dream bigger:  this is the God of hope at work in his creative way.

Let's keep our eyes open for more divine appointments to come....

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Friday, August 5, 2011

The Gift of Abiding

"She who abides in me shall bear much fruit, for apart from me, she can do nothing." Jesus

Missio Lux has learned to follow the rhythmic pattern of abide and bear fruit in our yearly schedule.  We take two times of abide: the first is the two weeks between Christmas and New Years, and the second and most important is the month of July.  We don't meet and everyone experiences a different pace and often location for the month!

My time in San Francisco during the month of July was much needed.  I was extremely exhausted by the end of the ministry year....I limped towards the finish line at the end of June.

So, as we often find our self worth through how busy and important we are, I experienced a sense of just the opposite in July.  I found that I wasted as much time as I could, after I finished writing in the early afternoon.  I did nothing a LOT....just because I could and at times, it was the most refreshing thing I could do!

I was quiet a lot.  I didn't know anyone in the city, except Bill, and he was often gone long hours.  I kept my phone calls to a minimum so I could recharge relationally~even though I am an extrovert, I was talked out!

I slept a lot.  I got up when I woke up, and I took naps when I felt like I needed one.

I did three of the things that recharge me the most:  I wrote and I walked and I read.

I spent time with Bill; enjoying the carefree life of no yard, no big house to take care, and no children to worry about....

and most of all, I spent a lot of time with Jesus.  I took as long as I wanted with him in the mornings; I chatted with him as I walked through the city, and I sensed his pleasure when I seriously enjoyed every aspect of the abide!  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down for my Time in San Francisco

I just spent a little over three weeks in San Francisco to be present with my husband Bill, who works in San Francisco during the week and comes home to Seattle on the weekends.  I also went to have focused time to work on the book I am writing about Identity.  

I took a walk each day in the later afternoon and as I walked I made some assessments about the things that I really liked about San Francisco and those things that were frustrating and difficult to watch.
So, here's my list:  I hope you like it!

Thumbs  Down:

Homeless people digging food out of trashcans....I saw this all the time!
Traffic heading to Sonoma and Napa on the weekends
The sewer smell that permeated up through the streets, it smelled BAD!
Almost getting run over by a driver who wanted the parking space I was trying to save for a friend

Thumbs Up:

Being with Bill on a more regular basis than we have had the privilege of doing for the past 4 years
The beautiful view of the Bay Bridge from his apartment
Making phone calls and hanging out at the Bow and Arrow Landmark (built because Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco!)
Enthusiastic Giants Fans
Walking to the Stadium to become one of their fans!
Watching Ryan Vogelsong pitch and get a standing ovation
The Wharf
The Crooked Street
Great Food
Being Close to Wine Country
Amazing Architecture

Great People Watching
Simple life in a small apartment

So, there you have it!  I am grateful for the time gave me time to do the R's:  Rest, Recoop, Relationship, and (w)Rite!