Monday, April 30, 2007


Greetings friends.

Not sure if anyone is still reading this or even checking it these days, which is my bad, since I haven't posted in so long why would there be any reason for any of you to actually look at it?!?

Nevertheless, I am at least telling you today that as of tomorrow I will be silent once again for a period of perhaps three weeks or so. But this time it's intentional! Jo and the boys and I, along with my parents are headed off to the UK for some much needed R&R. Now that the Doctorate is officially done (the hooding ceremony was last Friday night!), and since my parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary on May 10th, it is just the right time to get away.

As I am preparing to leave I am struck by how much I am looking forward to unplugging from the electronic world. The thought of not having a cell phone attached to my hip, and emails screaming for attention, voicemails piling up in my inbox, and phones ringing like they are alive is just brilliant (as my good friend Dee would say - who I am going to see in less than 48 hours)!! I am actually quite amazed at how much these tools that I use on a regular basis to help me stay connected, actually sometimes feel like they make me more disconnected. And how ironic that I feel like I need to disconnect in order to gain some re-connection. That might not make any sense to the rest of you, but it's all so clear to me in my mind here on the eve of my departure!

So cheers, my friends. And don't forget, God is in charge, and we can trust him!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

What is leadership?

During a time of prayer and reflection this morning I was struck by a "new" definition of leadership in the Kingdom of God. Now this might not seem super profound to anyone else, but I felt like it was a major lightbulb moment for me this morning. Maybe that's just because I had to have the lights on because it was still dark, but nevertheless, it was significant to me.

Leadership in the kingdom of God is not a matter of who is following you, but is instead completely dependent on who you are following.

Some of this came out of my reflecting on John 15 and Jesus' words on our remaining in Him. Our ability to bear fruit in that passage is completely dependent on our ability to stay connected to Him, to the vine, and in our willingness to be obedient to His leading.

I was talking with a teenager yesterday about what it means to be a leader and this concept came up. I didn't really give it much thought then, but in connection with this passage today, it sure seemed to hit home to me. As a leader in God's Church I can sometimes be so caught up in what others think about me, or if they are approving of my decisions. To me those are issues that totally hinge on whether or not they are "following" me. But if I am going to be a leader in the kingdom order of things, then I can't worry about that. I must only be concerned about whether or not I am following the voice of my Shepherd. I must be making decisions based on what He is telling me, what He is telling us (to put it in the communal sense), and then not worry about whether or not it's going to meet the approval of others or not.

In that context, the Lord also reminded me of the passage where Jesus had some of his followers turn away and leave him, and he asked his disciples, "Are you going to leave me to0?" Their response was telling to me in light of this new take on leadership. "Lord, where else are we going to go? You alone have the words of life." (Stephen's paraphrase)

As leaders in the kingdom, where else are we going to go to find the words of life and the direction we need? As we follow the shepherd's voice and listen to his words of life, we will become producers of much fruit. And doesn't that mean that people will ultimately be following too? But not following us. No, we are simply trying to get them connected to the vine too, so they can follow the words of life as well. In fact, if you think about it, in the kingdom it's never really about any of us following anyone else, but all of us learning and growing together in our followership of Him. (Hmm...Is that a word?)

God's Brave New World - Week #1

Hey there friends! Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I will try and do a better job of getting things on here in a timely way so that we can make the most of this opportunity together.

I am beginning a new series this week that was birthed out of an idea from my Easter message - God's Brave New World. The basic idea behind this three week series is that God is in the prcocess of creating and inviting us into a brave new world. During week one we will examine the nature of this world. Week two will focus on the timing of the world, that it is intended to be a present reality, not just something we wait for after death. Week three will focus on our role in helping God bring about this world here and now.

For this first week I am preaching through the text from Isaiah 65:17-25(NLT):

"Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth—so wonderful that no one will even think about the old ones anymore. [18] Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation! And look! I will create Jerusalem as a place of happiness. Her people will be a source of joy. [19] I will rejoice in Jerusalem and delight in my people. And the sound of weeping and crying will be heard no more. [20] "No longer will babies die when only a few days old. No longer will adults die before they have lived a full life. No longer will people be considered old at one hundred! Only sinners will die that young! [21] In those days, people will live in the houses they build and eat the fruit of their own vineyards. [22] It will not be like the past, when invaders took the houses and confiscated the vineyards. For my people will live as long as trees and will have time to enjoy their hard-won gains. [23] They will not work in vain, and their children will not be doomed to misfortune. For they are people blessed by the Lord, and their children, too, will be blessed. [24] I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking to me about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! [25] The wolf and lamb will feed together. The lion will eat straw like the ox. Poisonous snakes will strike no more. In those days, no one will be hurt or destroyed on my holy mountain. I, the Lord, have spoken!"

My basic outline follows this pattern so far:
God's is creating a Brave New World (verse 17).
It is a place of...
Joy (18-19)
Life (20)
Honor & Blessing (21-23)
Answered Prayer (24)
Peace (25)

What I would like to do with each one of those is to talk about what we do to sabatoge that world and each one of those characteristics. So does anyone have ideas that would relate to that question - What do we do to sabatoge joy, life, honor & blessing, etc.?

Of course, if you have other ideas that some to your heart and mind I would love to hear any of that too!

On The Journey,