Monday, September 24, 2007

As you can see...

While I give myself my vacomyacin I.V. therapy I am trying to get back into the work scene. I'll be hooked up for the next 75+ minutes. I do this thing twice a day for my second month of elbow infections. This time a staff infection and a repeat surgery on my arm first on the third of August then a return on the 1st of September. But today, I feel so much better thanks to all of your prayers.

But is not about me. There is great suffering in the world.

My missionary friends are struggling to raise support and have friendship partners so they can return to their country of calling. Young 15 year old Caleb wrote this email to me just days ago...

"Ya know, you guys are not the only ones that are going through a valley at this time. This week has been a very hard week for all of us. We have felt rejected, and that no one cares about us. Thank you for writing, it tells me that there are those that do care. If you could also pray that the Lord would send some people our way to lift us up spiritually and mentally, that would be great! Thank you guys for always caring and being there for us in our hard times."


My heart sank. Do any of you want to share encouragement to Caleb and his family? You can post right here. If any of you want to give share support at $20.00 per share per month just email me at and I will get you in touch with Caleb and His family. We keep missionary families confidential on the web due to recent missionary assassinations in the missionary church.

Dave DeVries has a homerun post...

This is a September 14, 2007 post by Dave DeVries and there is more.

The US Church is Internally Focused

Bill Easum says, “Church members…who see their church as the focus of their mission have missed the entire point of Christianity.”1 In The Externally Focused Church, the authors recognize that they do not know any churches that claim to be internally focused, yet that does not mean they do not exist. Here is a word-picture of many churches in America:

Internally focused churches concentrate on getting people into the church and generating activity there. These churches may create powerful worship experiences, excel in teaching, offer thriving youth programs, and have vibrant small groups, but at the end of the day, what is measured is the number of people and activities within the church.2

Churches are too focused on themselves and not focused on the kingdom of God. The activities and ministries of many churches are devoted to the members. Yet more tragic is that church members are consuming vast amounts of resources that could be utilized to extend the kingdom. Budgets are expanded to build larger buildings and to hire more staff to serve the members. From the outside looking in, churches appear to be self-absorbed. The church’s “contribution beyond themselves is no longer seen as viable or significant by the community.”3

There is a desperate need for Christians to embody the mission and message of Jesus. “The church doesn't exist for itself; it exists to serve the world. It is not ultimately about the church; it's about the people God wants to bless through the church. When the church loses sight of this, it loses its heart.”4

Ultimately, it is not about us! It is about the King and His kingdom. Christians have to realize that “we can no longer afford to sit still, waiting for people to come to us. We must go into the world and be Christians who reproduce Christians and churches that reproduce churches.”5

1 Easum, “It’s Time to Tell the Truth About Christians and Our Churches,” Net Results (February 2000), 22; quoted in Clegg and Bird, Lost in America: How You and Your Church Can Impact the World Next Door, 21.

2 Rusaw and Swanson, The Externally Focused Church, 16.

3 Ogne and Roehl, Coaching: A New Paradigm, 48.

4 Bell, Velvet Elvis, 165.

5 Clegg and Bird, Lost in America: How You and Your Church Can Impact the World Next Door, 37.

Help for so many...

You must read Jessica's latest testimony of faith, grace and healing. Read Songs of Time and share it with those in need.

Encourage her along the way to keep writing...

Way to go Jessica!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Is this reality for some, many or all?

How did Sally Mortgenthaler reach this conclusion? You must read her entire article to understand.

As I pulled my Sacramentis site off of the Web, I posted this statement: "Sacramentis has been a pioneer site on worship and culture for seven years. From the beginning, it has been a gathering spot for the most helpful worship ideas and resources we could find. Sacramentis has also been a place where church leaders could go deeper into what classic Christian worship is and does, and where they could re-imagine worship for communities where churchgoing is no longer the norm. But as culture has become incessantly more spiritual and adamantly less religious, we at Sacramentis have become convinced that the primary meeting place with our unchurched friends is now outside the church building. Worship must finally become, as Paul reminds us, more life than event (Romans 12:1-2). To this end, we will be focusing on the radically different kind of leadership practices necessary to transform our congregations from destinations to conversations, from services to service, and from organizations to organisms."

In January USA TODAY featured an article titled, "Can the 'E-Word' [evangelical] Be Saved?" I think we need to ask a parallel question. "Can the W-word [worship] be saved?" Saved from the definition that it's just what goes on inside the tent? From the lie that worship is a place you go, not what you do or who you are?

JCPenney stores adopted a new motto a few years ago: "It's all inside." That may work well for clothes and housewares, but it doesn't work so well for spreading the gospel. Ah, but aren't buildings important? Yes, they are. Jesus himself spent crucial time in synagogues and the Temple. He affirmed that the worship of God is central to what it means to be a disciple. But here's the catch. He did not make the building—or corporate worship—the destination. His destination was the people God wanted to touch, and those were, with few exceptions, people who wouldn't have spent much time in holy places. Jesus' direction was always outward. Centrifugal. Even in death, he was broken and poured out for the sake of a needy world. God's work may not be "all outside," but if we look at where Jesus spent his time, I think we can safely say that most of it is.

I am currently headed further outside my comfort zones than I ever thought I could go. I am taking time for the preacher to heal herself. As I exit the world of corporate worship, I want to offer this hope and prayer. May you, as leader of your congregation, have the courage to leave the "if we build it, they will come" world of the last two decades behind. May you and the Christ-followers you serve become worshippers who can raise the bar of authenticity, as well as your hands. And may you be reminiscent of Isaiah, who, having glimpsed the hem of God's garment and felt the cleansing fire of grace on his lips, cried, "Here am I, send me."

SALLY MORGENTHALER speaks about leadership in a "flattened" world. She is a contributor to An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, edited by Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones (Baker). She may be contacted at

Examples of how disciple making movements are different.

In our disciples making disciples movement our Christ followers are immediately released into the community to do ministry out of their giftedness and passion. This early release is made possible because every Christ follower is being discipled and trained as they go. They make mistakes, but those mistakes are necessary in the preparation process - that's where we learn where they need help.

In the traditional church model the new Christ follower is often kept inside the church and not released to explore new ministries outside of the approved established ones sanctioned by the church leadership. They must be trained. They must be put in classes that make them good church members under the guise of discipleship so they can serve in predetermined ministries.

Reasons new believers are not released (American Church)to serve outside the church in their areas of giftedness and passion are, just to name a few of many.

They are not trained and ready.
They are needed to serve their own approved ministries.
All ministries in and out must be supervised.
They might misrepresent or embarrass our church.
They may flop and make huge mistakes making us look bad.
We don't have the leadership to train people to serve out of their gifting and passions for outside ministries.
Our own predetermined ministries need more workers.

Just to name a few.

None of these barriers exist nor are they concerns in a disciples making disciples movement. Disciples are being discipled, helped with their failures and questions, offered training in the areas of concern. They cannot embarrass the church because we have no church location that has remained steady. Failing forward is a necessary and common part of growing and becoming more effective.

Best of all, our new Christ followers are released to experience the leadership of the Holy Spirit and work in their lives. It is incredibly freeing and exciting to see new believers being baptized by the one who led him/her to Jesus and for any believers (Non ordained) to anoint others when they are sick or even to lead a communion service at own gatherings. Best of all pastors serve out of their leadership gifts with no expectation to serve and in all of them (Apostolic, Prophetic, Teaching, Evangelism and Pastoring). There is a balance among the elders and all leadership gifts are represented in them. Other leaders in the Church serve out of their leadership gifts and spiritual gifts and passions as does the rest of the Body of Christ. My pastor is not pastoral and nor does he need to be because we have those in leadership gifted and in the family who are pastoral and who fulfill that function.

Many pastors are expected to be good at all Five Designated Leadership gifts and are incredibly frustrated at the expectation, but not in our movement of disciple making. Our leaders and believers serve in their leadership gifts as well as their spiritual gifts and passions the way God builds His Church in balance.

When I was pastor, I did not possess the leadership gift of pastoring. So it was always a burden for me to pastoral when I was not gifted to be such. People had expectations of me that I was unable to meet. I visited them out of imposed duty and love for them, but I was lousy at it and also drained by it.

Any thoughts worth considering here?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Another Disciple Making Blessing

As you know, I am still recovering from my second elbow infection. This time a staff infection. I just spent 5 days in the hospital and I am on my second week of rest, rest, rest. I was heading back to it today, but a few friends and my director insisted I lay back until the doc. releases me, while not having anymore sick time.

Michelle and I were blessed by a young emerging leading in our movement. Before my last infection erupted Brian emailed me to ask if I had been anointed. I hesitated because I was getting over the first infection, so I didn't ask anyone to anoint me. I confess I had thought of it before his email but felt I didn't need it even though I now recall the Father's promptings for me to humble myself and ask for it.

Since God spoke through Brian for my anointing I asked Pastor Terry and Suzette and Brian and Lori to join Michelle and I in the hospital room and for Brian to anoint me. I didn't want the pastor to do it, I wanted the one who was anointed to ask me about it. Brian and Lori brought their children and it was such a blessing to watch them fold their little hands and close their eyes for miracle prayer.

I was as were others, deeply moved by this Holy Spirit filled time. WOW! I know I was healed, I still believe I was touched/healed and perhaps may never know exactly how. Here's something to consider. Two day's after my anointing and minutes from being discharged my infection doctor changed my IV medicine because she discovered I was allergic to the medicine. Could this be part of the miracle? Or, would I be sick today had I obeyed the Spirit's prompting and reminder of Brian to be anointed?

I will always believe that when we are prayed over and anointed there is always healing of some kind of God's choosing. In a disciples making disciples movement God can do this through all of us (Brian and Lori) and not just through designated pastors.

Even though it is difficult to type, I just had to drop in and make sure you stay connected with me in prayer and in mission.

Friday, September 14, 2007

How do they know? vs What do they know?

How do they know you are a Christ follower

While in my last stay at the hospital the housekeeper asked how long I had been a Christ follower. I told her. Then I asked her how long she had been a Christ follower and she told me about 2 years. I asked her how she knew that I knew Jesus? She just said, I could tell. I then told her I knew she was a believer too.

Interesting story: I was in the same hospital on the same floor with some of the same nurses and the same housekeeper. When my housekeeper walked in I calerd her by her first name. I call all the techs and nurses by their first name and I did that every time they walked into the room. I think learning names of those who are caring for you sends a message of care and appreciation of their worth to you.

I never said a word to Sherry about Jesus at first, I just tried to show her Jesus, and she noticed Jesus in the room.

Again, how do people see Jesus in you? My case turned out very positive, I could not always say that in my life. I have other positive examples flowing out of my trasnformation. But, other cases are not so positive as Christians engage the world. Like the response of a waitress when professing Christ followers are in her table area and very hard to please or grouchy or mistreating her.

Any thoughts on this? How do they know? What do they know about your faith? And other examples that trouble you.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I'm back, finally

Thanks to Melissa for giving you the heads up on my illness.

I got out of the hospital on Monday after a 5 day stay and surgery in the hospital. My infection from August looked good that is, until I got a different type of infection, this time a staff infection. My doctors (two of them) are handling things very carefully. They repeated my August surgery on Wednesday.

I'm supposed to be on complete bed rest which is a killer for me. The anti-biotic they wanted me on turns that out I am allergic to it. So I'm on the mother load -and we need to pray I do not develop an immunity to it.

This time of tribulation and testing will be over soon, we pray. But I am assured of God's grace and mercy and care. Just as they lifted up the arms of Moses for victory, I ask you to lift up my arms in prayer. One arm with skin grafts and the other with infection and a partial cast will do the trick.

I'll be back to aggravate when I get some more energy.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

another update from melissa...

Dads back in the hospital, the infection came back on his arm and he's actually in surgery right now. We really hope they can figure out what's causing it so he can get the right antibiotics to fight the infection! Please keep him in your prayers!


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sign of the week

I encountered this Church sign on my labor Day travels.

"ALL CHURCH PICNIC" September **, 2007.

As I passed this church sign on a busy street and these questions filled my mind.

Are the non churched invited?
What is an ALL church? Was is a half a church?
If it is for the "ALL" in the CHURCH why are they bragging about it to the uninvited?

Just trying to think like an unchurched person. What do you think when you read a sign like this?

I saw another sign, ALL are welcome to our services and then listed the times. I loved that one. If you are an attractional church this is a good way to invite from a distance, I just wish the invite wasn't just (maybe) from a distance.

How have you...

How have you witnessed the body of Christ treating one another?

Have you caught them being good or badly?

Let your hair down and help me address this growing problem/blessing!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Children in church..

3-year-old Reese:

"Our Father, Who does art in heaven,

Harold is His name.


~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~

A little boy was overheard praying:

"Lord, if you can't make me a better boy, don't

Worry about it.

I'm having a real good time like I am."

~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~

After the christening of his baby brother in


Jason sobbed all the way home in the back seat of

The car.

His father asked him three times what was wrong.

Finally, the boy replied,

"That preacher said he wanted us brought up in a

Christian home,

And I wanted to stay with you guys."

~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~

One particular four-year-old prayed,

"And forgive us our trash baskets

As we forgive those who put trash in ours"

~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~

A Sunday school teacher asked her children as they

Were on the way to church service,

"And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?"

One bright little girl replied,

"Because people are sleeping."

~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~

A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin

5, and Ryan


The boys began to argue over who would get the

First pancake.

Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral


"If Jesus were sitting here, He would say,

'Let my brother have the first pancake, I can


Kevin turned to his younger brother and said,

"Ryan, you be Jesus!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~

A father was at the beach with his children

When the four-year-old son ran up to him,

Grabbed his hand, and led him to the shore

Where a seagull lay dead in the sand.

"Daddy, what happened to him?" the son asked.

"He died and went to Heaven," the Dad replied.

The boy thought a moment and then said,

"Did God throw him back down?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~

A wife invited some people to dinner.

At the table, she turned to their six-year-old

Daughter and


"Would you like to say the blessing?"

"I wouldn't know what to say," the girl replied

"Just say what you hear Mommy say," the wife


The daughter bowed her head and said,

"Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people

To dinner?"


If filling our lives with doing good things keeps us from doing the most important thing who will do the most important thing?

I'm not so impressed...

I'm not very impressed with what a person, a leader, a pastor can do.

I am impressed by what a person, a leader and a pastor can help others do.

We need to become people who can multiply people in a movement of Great Commission disciple making where everyone in the movement makes disciples.

Charlie Brown...

Charlie Brown once said, "I love the church, it's the people I cannot stand."

The Planter once said, "I love the people called the Church, it's the church called the location I cannot stand."

T. O. N. E.

Check this out...

T - This is something we all use in conversation/writing. It can be misunderstood.

O - Our tone impacts everyone differently and sometimes because of other circumstances.

N - No one tone will hit everyone positively.

E - Everyone should accept the tone by understanding we are all different in how we communicate.

By the way if there is something in the tone that bothers you, and if you can, why not ask for further clarification before making a determination. I'll try, it will be hard, to do the same.

Bottom line: Are you engaging the Great Commission?

This blog continues to be about fulfilling the Great Commission (the MISSION) Jesus left us when he gave it following His resurrection, with the authority as God, with priority as God, and with the power of God..He meant for this to be taken seriously.

We do point out deficiencies that are hinder this fulfillment in the church (the location).

Are you engaging the Great Commission personally?

How so?

My only thought here is this: Will we draw zero comments on this post and what does that mean if it happens.

Here's that TONE again. Darn it!

Sadness of fatness/physical or spiritual?

Fox news is reporting this morning on the sadness of fatness in America. Fatness is killing our health care system, so they say. It's getting so bad they say that the government is considering giving our fast food restaurants a "fat tax" so that fat people will eat healthier by not eating their. I'm gaining weight and I eat very little unhealthy food. I'm just getting through some skins grafts and I.V antibiotics 4 times a day for a month, requiring little activity. I'm taking in more than I'm burning to heal my wounds and infection. We have our own excuses.

1. We have no right to discriminate against fat people.
2. Why don't we talk about talk about the skinny's. Not!
3. Some fat people cannot help it, they have a low metabolism or whatever. Some skinny's have a fast metabolism and cannot help that either.

If there is a sadness of fatness in America it has to be in the local America Church. We waddle into our churches "the location" every week to dine at the spiritual buffet of options and then we gripe when the sermon tastes bad, when it is undercooked and when it is and or overcooked. There is nothing more selfish than standing in front of a spiritual buffet waiting to be stuffed so we can waddle out to wait for the next spiritual buffet. Spiritual buffets are food for energy to do what we must do. In the spiritual sense we just keep eating and eating and the unused energy of disobedience has us porking spiritually.

Fat people (Whatever that is)may not be able to help it. But spiritual porkers can. It's time to dump the sermon outline and begin doing what we were taught. Go into the world means go, not sit on the couch eating chips and viewing our favorite O'Reilly Factor while the world is headed for hell in large part without a Savior.

I have compassion for those who are attacked and mistreated for being overweight/underweight.
I have no mercy for the spiritual porkers who take in but never use the energy to fulfill the mission of Jesus passed on to each of us.

Free Hit Counters