Archive for June 2009

Church Visitor

June 29, 2009

Here are several churches that I check out regularly. I discovered them while surfing the web or following links on other blogs or websites. They are all missional churches and each is comprised of small groups.

Their locations range from Washington State, through Colorado and Texas, on to Tennessee. I’m really excited that three of the churches are in Austin, Texas.

The Lord is doing an interesting work in the city whose unofficial motto is “Keep Austin Weird.” Austin was a major counter-culture and music center in the 1960s and ’70s. Alot of the vibe and attitude remains. Very hip. Austin is about two hours west of where I live.

So, here are the churches:

If you’re interested in missional churches and stuff, I trust that you’ll enjoy visiting these sites.

~ Blessings ~

Is This The Beginning Of Something?

June 26, 2009

Missional CommunityA couple of years ago, one of my daughters started baby-sitting for a young family who are members of the same church that we are. They’re a nice couple, three kids, one on the way. I have had a number of opportunities to talk with the husband as I have dropped my daughter off and picked her up at their house on baby-sitting nights.

One of the things that I have learned about the young couple is that they have a strong desire to be involved in a small group of believers and God-seekers who are on mission in their community. In fact, they are very interested in the concept of organic (house) church.

About three weeks ago I asked the young man if he’d be interested in getting together to talk about and pray over the idea of coming together as a “missional community” in our part of town. He agreed and we met this past Saturday morning. As we met, we discovered that we have similar thoughts, passions and dreams for “church”, community and ministry. During our visit, the young husband also asked me to be his mentor as a believer, husband and father.

So, we agreed to meet weekly for accountabilty, visioning and prayer. We also thought that it would be good for our families to do a couple of things together this summer – suppers, movie nights, mall outings – for relationship building and just hanging out. In the fall we’ll start meeting together as a community group. 

I met with the young man this morning. We talked a little about computers and the week and then we shared a couple of things about ourselves that most people, other than our wives, don’t know. We shared personal prayer requests and prayed, not only for one another, but also for a couple of friends who need to know Christ.

We are going to read the Gospel of Matthew this week. My desire for the reading is that we will find in the life and ministry of Jesus, in His relationship to people, truths and insights for application in the relationships that we have with people in our neighborhoods and networks. We’ll share those thoughts when we get together next week.

Our prayer as we go through the summer is that the Lord will add others to our small group who share the same passion and desires for community and ministry that we have.  We are also praying that  He will unite us in heart and vision for the tangible outworking of the Kingdom in our neighborhoods and town.

Please pray for us as we embark on this journey.

The MI Factor

June 23, 2009

As I re-read The Tangible Kingdom by Halter and Smay, I am discovering that the message of the book rings as encouraging and inspirational to me today as when I first read it about a year ago. The passages that are highlighted in yellow and/or emphasized by red arrows still speak to my heart and passions. And, I am finding new statements and points that are striking chords with me this time around.

One such fresh passage is found in the chapter entitled “Posture.” Under the heading “Where Missionaries Begin” (p.38), Halter and Smay write that when we, Christ-followers and churches, engage people with something of an understanding of their assumptions, experiences, worldviews, and emotions,

everything changes: our posture with people, our livlihood, what we do with our spare time, who we spend our time with, how we structure the fabric of our lives. Yes, church is what we’re concerned about because we’re deeply entrenched in its minutia, but we can’t make transformative adjustments if we start there and work outward. We must go out and then let church reemerge as a reflection and the natural outgrowth of our missional way of life.”

Sounds a little like “becoming all things to all men so that some might get saved.”

Missional, being sent into the world as God’s representatives, has an “inseperable twin.” The “twin” is called “incarnational.” The authors quote the meaning of incarnation as “any person or thing serving as the type or embodiment of a quality or concept.”

The section continues with a statement that caught my attention. The authors write that

missional sentness is focused on leaving and everything related to going, but incarnational represents how we go and what we do as we go.”

I think of this as the Missional-Incarnational Factor (MI Factor).

As God the Father sent the Son to walk among men in order to reveal Himself  and His love for humanity, so He sends us into the world to do the same. God’s love was supremely manifested on the Cross of Calvary, but it is true that it was also revealed in and through relationships and community. So, it is true for us, that the message of His love and grace that we have been commissioned to share will be most effectively revealed in and through our relationships and the communities in which we live and move.

Who or what is it that the Lord may be wanting me/us to leave (comfort zones, relationships, church as we have always done it), to whom or where is He directing us to go, and how is it that He would have us live in order for His Kingdom to become more real and tangible in the lives of people who are in need of Christ?

That is the MI Factor question.

Missional Living … Simply Put

June 19, 2009

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post entitled “Missional Living (Def.)”  In the post I included two definitions of missional living; one by Floyd McClung , the other by Ed Stetzer.

Well, I have just started working through The Tangible Kingdom Primer that was sent to me by the Missio missions ministry and I have found a very short and succinct definition of missional life that I really like.

On Day 1 of the first week of the workbook, Halter and Smay, the authors of the Primer, define missional living as,

the decision to offer to God our plans in exchange for His plans.”

To me this simply means the total and unreserved surrender of all of my life – my plans for family and ministry, my dreams and aspirations for the future – to the Lord’s will, purposes, and leadership … to His plans for and use of me for the accomplishment of His will, the receiving of glory in all things, and the expansion of His Kingdom on this earth.

Missional living means openness to and involvement with people – intentional, genuine and purposeful engagement with people – for the sake of the Gospel and the Kingdom.

With this exchange comes the confidence of His provision for personal, family and ministry needs and freedom from the grip of fear and concern over the unknown that often keeps me from complete trust and surrender.

Jesus said, “As the Father has sent Me, so I send you.”

Where does He send me?

Into life.

Am I Salty?

June 15, 2009

I was asking myself this question just the other day, “Am I salty?”

******************************

You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” 

Jesus of Nazareth

Matthew 5:13

Ministry Books To Re-Visit

June 11, 2009

Here are a few books that I have on my bookshelf that I hope to re-read this summer. I believe  that each one of them is as relevent for ministry today as they were when they were originally written and published.

I read these books back in the late ’80s and early ’90s when I was living and ministering in the Houston area. Three of the books deal with ministry in urban areas, one has to do with mobilizing believers for ministry and one is an excellent series of Bible studies for those who are committed to reaching the world for Christ.

Footprints On My Blog

June 7, 2009

I started writing the tangiblethoughts blog back in August of 2008. While the Cluster Map on the front page doesn’t show it, because it was added well after I started writing the blog, the stat counter on my “dashboard”  recorded my 2,000th visit yesterday.

I know, I know, there are many blogs out there that have been around much longer and have thousands of more hits, but I was excited to hit the 2,000 mark.

Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to visit me at tangiblethoughts. Some of you just dropped by; others of you are frequent visitors. I appreciate all of you.

So, next time you’re here, like now, why don’t you leave your “footprint” and share a  “tangible thought”?