Thursday, May 31, 2007

International Blog

My wife and I have been noticing an increasing number of international reader on our blogs. So how do you build an international readership for your blog?

It was never our goal, but here is how we did it:
-Drop your career plans.
-Begin raising financial support in a weak currency to live in an international city with a very high cost of living.
-Talk about how you want to change people's cynical view of Jesus and church and give them a new sense of purpose and destiny.

My wife and I are so passionate about the vision God has given us for France and we are talking more and more about that passion on our blogs. Close to half of our blog visitors come from the international community. Lately, the number of French readers has really gone up. We did not plan for our blogs to be read by French (yet), but it is exciting to see that the word is getting out. We love French people and see so much opportunity to change the negative view they have of the church.

au revoir

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

God likes Wife's Blog Better

Life has been crazy lately. I have been so focused on a few specific issues this past week. Then throw in Memorial Day weekend and a 2 year old birthday party, and you have a creative brain drain. Needless to say I have not been very active in the blog world.

My wife on the other hand has become quite the blogger woman. She has a growing list of loyal readers and she loves to write. Throw in a little Holy Spirit and we are connecting with lots of new people through her blog who are really interested in our plans to plant a church in Paris. Yesterday someone found Gina's blog who writes a blog about traveling and living in France. They wrote a post that linked to Gina's blog saying, "And finally I have crossed a US-based website that is promising to bring God across the Atlantic and begin "planting" churches in France, I'll let you decide and discover more." She has already had lots of traffic from the site. Great to see this conversation starting.

What a team. When I'm too distracted to blog, she steps it up and whataya know, she's the better blogger. I'm not bitter, though. When I finish counseling I'm gonna be back baby.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day - Thank You Vets

I spent 8 years in the Army Reserves and wanted to make a career of it after college in the early nineties. Unfortunately, this was a time of reducing the size of the military and a knee surgery prevented me from doing what I wanted to do.

I always had a tremendous sense of honor and duty to my country and believed that service was just something you ought to do.

Every time I see a soldier leaving or returning from overseas to his or her children and spouse, I know that they are paying a price for freedom beyond that of the danger of combat. The sacrifice is one that is paid by family members left behind as well.

To all active military, families, and veterans I say, thank you. I sleep better at night knowing you are there. And thank your kids for my kids who sleep safe at night while yours await the return of a parent. God bless you all.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Aggies hot on the Diamond

The Texas A&M Men's baseball team beats Baylor 14-6 today to win the Big12 Championship. (more)

The Texas A&M Womens softball team shutout Florida Saturday to advance to the college world series. (more)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Marital Communication

My wife just called me . . . from the kitchen. I'm in my home office. House phone to cell phone. How did people with 4 or more kids make it without technology 200 years ago?

Self-Centered Faith

I am reading through the Bible this year (2Chron 22 now) and have been reading about the kings and the prophets. The one thing God continues to show me is how His power is available to us but we usually trust in our own power for everything.

In 2 Chron 14 Asa became king. Early in his reign the Cushites came against him with a large army. Asa called on the Lord for help and "the Lord struck down the Cushites." Later in his reign the king from Israel came against him. What did Asa do? He took the silver and gold out of the temple and bribed another king to help him. A prophet came to him after this and reminds him of how the Lord saved him from the Cushites but Asa relied on his own strength against Israel. He said, "the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him." He told Asa you have done a foolish thing and from now on you will be at war.

This story is played out many times in the old testament. But are we any different? Most Christians today have never really seen God's supernatural handiwork. Most would say that they believe God could work miracles in their lives but they don't believe that he will. Unfortunately this thinking leads to the same conclusion. If we don't think that he will help us we will do everything in our own power.

In 2 Cor 12:9 it says, "my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Most of us don't want to be weak but we will never see the power of God in our own strength.

I was just blogging to myself this morning. I really want to see God's supernatural power at work in my life and ministry.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Spiritual Warfare and Books

After prayer and getting advice, my wife and I recently decided to establish a 501(c)3 organization called Catalyst France for the purpose of planting life-giving churches in France that will not only reach the lost but shape culture.

Following this decision we immediately sensed confirmation through the support of others. We needed it because this has to be one of the biggest steps of faith that we have taken and confirmation was very important, especially for me.

Unfortunately, you have probably heard it said, "new level, new devil." This week has got to be one of the most difficult weeks I have faced. When you begin a new venture there is always an enormous amount of work to be done. But when you add to that other issues you must deal with, some that are completely outside of your control, it can be over-whelming. I guess this is spiritual warfare. It's not fun and it's not supposed to be. It is an attack. But it is also preparation for greater battles that lie ahead at the same time.

One day, this will be the stuff that books are made of but for now I just have to get on my knees and get in the game.

Monday, May 21, 2007

View of the Church from GenX

Below are 3 spiritual subcultures defined in an interview by a couple of 20-somethings. This should be a wake up call to older ministry leaders. We can't assume that we understand this culture. We must talk to people in the culture. We may realize that the very approaches that we use push them away rather than draw them near. Read the entire article from Monday Morning Insight here.

1. Hokey Christians: These believers are heavily invested in the pop culture side of conservative evangelicalism and can be spotted easily at the mall wearing “Jesus” T-shirts featuring logos borrowed from the Sopranos or Reece’s Pieces. For Katie and Josh, this subculture regards Jesus as a “homeboy,” but lives the faith out cartoon-style, heavy on affectations, lite on the substance.

2. Bitter Christians: Harmed by the misuse of authority in local congregations, these disciples have just seen too much. Pain and disappointment have led them to declare a sort of spiritual free agency. Still devoted to Jesus, they recoil at the way the Church becomes a vehicle for the exercise of personal power. To this person, the idea of a purpose-driven life seems like just another infomercial.

3. Non-Christians: These young adults will “consider themselves spiritual,” but have minimal interest in what evangelicals have to offer. Their preference for the open architecture of compound spiritualities (those formed by personal choice from a menu of options) seems to immunize them against our standard Sunday morning offering. Katie noted that, “you can’t reach them with anything like church.” In contrast, she recalled a backyard pig roast (which Jan and I attended) that used the simple grace of hospitality to pack the place with her unbelieving neighbors.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Catalyst France - Building a Foundation

I want to give a shout out to Dan Ohlerking at Healing Place Church. His family also founded Children's Cup.

His experience with both HPC and Children's Cup make him a great friend for advice as we move to get Catalyst France off of the ground from an administrative standpoint. There is a lot to be considered when establishing a ministry organization (501c3 type stuff) and we want to do things right from the very beginning. Thanks Dan for taking from recovering from your Africa trip help out.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Birth of Catalyst France

Three years ago Gina and I joined a mission organization and began to prepare to plant a church in Paris, France. Over the past year or so, however, God has begun to move in our hearts to do more that just plant a church. We began to talk about planting a church that would be a catalyst in France for a larger church movement.

This month Gina and I made the decision to step down from our missions organization and become more closely aligned with like-minded church partners. This led to the formation of Catalyst France (website is under construction). Watch for more details to appear on the site in the coming days.

Our vision is to see France impacted with the gospel through the multiplication of high-impact churches where French people have an opportunity to hear the gospel clearly communicated in a culturally relevant way, see it lived out in the lives of transformed believers, and to experience lasting life-change through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

While change always comes with its share of uncertainty, God has given a tremendous peace about this decision. Monday we emailed this news out to our prayer team. Since that time we have already had new people come to us asking how they can support our ministry and one couple who said that they are seriously praying about joining us in Paris.

We're really excited about what God is doing. We are still working out the administrative details of Catalyst France, but we hope to have everything setup for tax-deductible contributions in the next week or so.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can be involved in planting a church in Paris or would like to give financially to this ministry please contact us at info@catalystfrance.org.

Leadership Lessons from David

I got this from Jeff Kapusta's blog yesterday. He is pastor/planter of Life Point Church in Wilmington, NC. Great leadership insight from my favorite Bible leader. These thoughts remind us that God makes the leader and he doesn't always pick the best stock. He does however get the best results.

1 Sam. 17:1-18:4

  1. If you feel like the least in your family you may be candidate for Gods Elite.
  2. Learn to be a good shepherd it just might prepare you to be a great leader.
  3. Your confidence will be interpreted as pride.
  4. Great risk creates great opportunity.
  5. When everyone is running away from conflict you should be running toward it.
  6. People will try to discredit you because you are young…ignore them.
  7. Be yourself…don’t try to wear someone else’s armor.
  8. Size doesn’t matter. Others thought Goliath was too big to fight. David thought he was too big to miss.
  9. Your leadership will be defined by the giants you step out and slay.
  10. Always go with God. David couldn’t lose as long as he stuck with God.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Impacting Culture in Paris

I was listening to the Catalyst Podcast yesterday with Jon Tyson from Origins Church in NYC. He said something really powerful. He said the reason the church is not more effective is that it is not located in the places where culture is created (the major cities like LA, NYC, Paris, Berlin, England, Brussels etc). He said that one of the reasons this is true is because of the high cost to live in these cities.

Paris is one of the most expensive cities in world to live in (13th I think). But we must find a way to live there if we will plant a church in this most influential city. There is a saying that in Europe all roads lead to Paris and there is a lot truth to that. In France there is no question as to the city's influence. In Europe they are still probably the most culturally influential city. In 2 recent polls I have blogged about, France was ranked #1 and #3 in the most influential nations in the world. Yet about 1/2 of 1% of the French people are evangelical believers. The percentage is even worse in Paris.

They are considered world leaders in fashion, food, wine, art, and tourism.

We must build a growing Christian presence in the city Paris.

If you are interested in seeing this become a reality contact us at info@catalystfrance.org or me personally at ken@catalystfrance.org

How Can the Next Generation Miss It

I just finished reading 2 Kings in my quest through the Bible this morning. Did you know that all of the kings of Israel did evil in the Eyes of the Lord? More than half of the kings of Judah did evil in the Eyes of the Lord.

It is interesting that while Hezekiah was one of the better, good kings, his son was the most evil of all the kings of Judah. Even worse in 2 Kings 23:25 we learn that Josiah was the best king. It says "neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did - with all his heart and all his soul and all his strength." So what kind of king do you think the son of the best king was? You probably guessed that he was a 'schmuck'. He reversed everything his father had done and he did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

So why is it so easy for the children of Godly parents to go bad? I think that the easy answer is culture.

So how do we change that? There are many answers.
Parents - do we shelter them from culture?
Parents - do we just become more Godly?
Church - do we have better children's programs?
Church - do we invest in our teenagers and college students early and often?

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell Dies at 73

Like him or hate him Jerry Falwell was a tremendous leader who accomplished a lot in his 73 years. After passing up an opportunity to play pro baseball he went to Bible college and then committed his life to Christian ministry.

He established Liberty University that now has around 10,000 full-time students and division I sports. He founded Thomas Road Baptist Church which has grown to several thousand. I actually interned in his youth department for a couple of semesters. He had founded numerous ministries like Television Gospel programs, unwed mothers homes, alcoholic recovery homes. He was a major influence in American politics in moral issues and was a frequent guest on talk shows. In spite of the views he is criticized for he thought highly of by many in the media for sticking to a simple message of the death burial and resurrection on most of his media appearances.

He even helped shape my pastor and brother-in-law Matt Fry through Liberty University and time as the Thomas Road youth pastor. He even supported the planting of C3 Church, a ministry very different from his own.

Whether you like all he accomplished or not you have to admit he was a man who led the way and stuck to his beliefs and accomplished much for the causes he believed in so strongly.

Farewell to a great man.

MTV Church

At the Exponential Conference 3 weeks ago, I heard Vince Antonucci, pastor of Forefront Church in Virginia Beach, VA speak about who influences our methods. He said we should all be getting our main influence from God but there are a lot of things we do in church that don’t come from the Bible. He said they are intentionally influenced more in their method by MTV, Letterman, Chuck E Cheeses, Starbucks, SNL, Disney, etc.

Now this should get a rise out of most people who grew up in church. But it got me to thinking. Many of us want to create an environment and experience that will attract the unchurched or at least the make them feel comfortable. But often what is cutting edge to us is not even in the cultural experience of the unchurched. We often prepare for hip'er Christians rather than the unchurched.

Music, television and movies are tremendously powerful emotional experiences that do more to shape culture that just about anything else. The church must learn culture by seeing what they are watching and listening to. Then we can present the love of Christ through these powerful mediums in a way that will unfold the arms of skeptics and open them up to real Christianity.

I read another blog by Tim Stevens this morning on the same subject. He says "exploring what people watch, read, and listen to will tell us a whole lot about how to speak their language and communicate the gospel in a way that can be heard."

He points us to the "announced shows planned by NBC for this fall and reported by Jill Vejnoska of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution."

He asks the question "what does this lineup tell you about our culture? What shows can be leveraged to help communicate our message?"

What do you think?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Simple Church vs Web 2.0 Church

I read an article about web 2.0 today. Web guru Jakob Nielsen warns that "the rush to embrace Web 2.0 technology meant that many firms were turning their back on the basics." He even quotes statistics that indicate 90% of visitors to your website will never utilize web 2.0 technology and only 1% will utilize it on a regular basis.

You may have no idea what I am talking about. That's ok. It puts you in the 90% group.

This lesson can be applied to our churches as well. We can and should have the most creative environments in our corporate gatherings, but if we forget how to do the simple things like get ing the non-Christians there, then we are missing out on he bigger picture, the great commission.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

I'm Nacho Momma!

Today is mother's day. It is the day that children show their moms just how much they love and appreciate them. Or if the children are too small, it is the day that the fathers show their wives just how much they could not raise their children without her.

Gina is an absolutely beautiful and wonderful woman and mother in one of the most difficult jobs around (mother of 4, ages 1 to 6). Life would be much easier if you could drop the kids off at school or day care and go to work each day. That would be a break. Instead she pours her life into these 4 small lives. She cooks, cleans, changes diapers, wipes dirty butts and tries to make the children's lives exciting and educational. I love her and could not do it without her.

This morning, I woke up too late to make her breakfast in bed (pain meds from recent surgery). But I beat her to the kitchen and attempted to make her an omelet. My first one, it wasn't pretty, but she ate it anyway. Then we gave her a cute card that the kids traced their hands on and gave her the Harry Connick Jr. Soundtrack to "When Harry Met Sally." She loves the movie and today's theme songs for mothers day will be track 1, "It Had to be You." We will probably watch a chick flick at some point today. She's worth it, even if she is not my mother.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Women's Buttons

From the same pastor who brought you the Guys Rules.

A picture is worth a thousand words (so you don't have to say any, men).

Missions and Land Rovers


st_IMG_1455
Originally uploaded by kenwitcher.
I want to tell you about Hendro Coetzee (second from rt). He is an entrepreneur from South Africa living in Los Angeles. When I asked him if he planned to go back to SA anytime soon, he said that there were a couple of other places he wanted to live still, like Chile. He said that he could go into just about any country and within 6 months he could find a need in the country and start a successful business. That is so inspiring to me.

Mark Batterson always says, "there are ways of doing church that no one has thought of yet." I think that we may be entering a bit of a paradigm shift in missions. In the last few weeks, I have had so many conversations with people that have challenged my thinking in this area. I believe God is giving me a glimpse of a new era in missions. So, there are also ways of doing missions that no one has thought of yet.

By the way, Hendro also drove a Land Rover (my dream car). I had never driven a Land Rover before so Hendro let me drive his back from lunch. Awesome.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Craig Groeschel -Postal Pastors

Craig Groeschel has some great posts on 'Postal Pastors'. In part 3 he is talking about getting defensice when others attack or criticize you. Though the post was aimed a bit more toward negative blogs I think this is good advice for responding to negative criticism from any arena. (full post)

As Christian leaders, we should work not to be angry or defensive. (Yes we should be angry about injustices, poverty, spiritual apathy, heresy, etc…) But we shouldn’t spit venom back every time someone says something bad about us.

  • Don’t always feel compelled to defend yourself. God is your defender.
  • Don’t waste your time reading other people’s opinions about you. They don’t know you. God knows your heart. That’s all you need.
  • Thank God when you are persecuted.
  • Spend your energy doing ministry in Jesus’ name instead of swirling over something you can’t control or change.
  • Don’t BLAST everyone when you’re ticked. (Yes, I’m talking to some of you who are my close friends. :) ) When you rant and rave because one person said something bad about you or your church, you look foolish and insecure. You’re allowing those people who support and love you to watch you scream over one person. Grow up.
  • There are way too many “jerks for Jesus.” You don’t have to be one of them.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I'm Not Dead Yet

That should catch the attention of Monte Python fans.

Well my surgery yesterday was not too invasive. There were a couple of more serious possibilities like replacing my ACL (again). But in the end they just found scar tissue damage, torn cartilage and I believe he said something about arthritis. I was pretty out of it when he told me so I will know more after my follow up tomorrow. But how do you find arthritis and more importantly how do you find it in me? I'm only 38.

The funny thing is that I only remembered the arthritis thing as I started to type this blog (why do they give you results while you are still coming out of anesthesia? You will never remember it all. Now that I remember the arthritis thing it is really bugging me. Can you get rid of it?

Just Why Do Americans Attend Church? - Gallup

On April 6, 2007 the Gallup Poll released a survey of why Americans attend church. It begins by determining attendance frequency and then asks why or why not? I have included some of the results below. (Complete survey here.)


How often do you attend church or synagogue -- At least once a week, almost every week, about once a month, seldom, or never?


Once
a week

Almost
every
week

About
once a
month

Seldom

Never

No
opin-
ion

2007 Mar 26-29

35

10

10

28

16

*

* Less than 0.5%


Reasons for Not Attending Church

Americans who say they attend church only seldom or never -- a little over 40% of the adult population -- give a variety of reasons for their non-attendance.

(Asked of adult who seldom or never attend church services)What is the most important reason why you do not attend church or synagogue? [OPEN-ENDED



%

THOUGHT-OUT, RATIONAL REASONS




Don't agree with organized religion/
what they preach

24

Don't believe in going to church

16

Atheist/Don't believe in God

10

Church wants/asks for too much money

3



PRACTICAL OR "DEFAULT" REASONS




Don't have time/Don't get around to it

21

Don't have a church I connect with

9

I'm lazy

6

Poor health/Disabled

2

Family members are different religions

1



Other

5

No reason in particular

6

No opinion

3


Results for this panel study are based on telephone interviews with 1,006 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted March 26-29, 2007.

There are some interesting observations to be made here. I would love to hear some of your thoughts on these numbers and their significance.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Support for Starving Surgeons

I feel like I have supported ($$) innovation in orthopaedic surgery from the time I was in 7th grade. I have had 1 shoulder surgery(baseball), 1 foot surgery (marathons), 4 knee surgeries (football, softball). Well I am about to leave for the hospital for knee surgery number 5 (who knows). I hope this guy is as good at knees as he is at shoulders.

It is somewhat exploratory so pray that they find all the problems and that I recover quickly. Tomorrow I should be blogging on strong pain meds.

Origins - Naeem Fazal - Mosaic Charlotte


Naeem_and_I
Originally uploaded by kenwitcher.
Naeem Fazal is pastor and church planter of Mosaic, Charlotte. This church was launched in Jan of 2006 and already has an attendance of over 1000 in 4 services. It is an amazing church that is utilizing movie theaters and bars to reach their community. Naeem was the one who turned me on to Mosaic and led to us becoming members of the International Mosaic Alliance. If you are ever in Charlotte, check them out.

Monday, May 07, 2007

There's a New Sheriff in Town - In Paris Anyway

PARIS - French president-elect Nicolas Sarkozy plans to waste no time pushing through a weighty package of pro-market, anti-crime reforms — but the first battle is winning a majority in parliament in new elections next month.

Sarkozy, a pro-American conservative and an immigrant’s son, defeated Socialist Segolene Royal by 53.06 percent to 46.94 percent with an 84 percent voter turnout, according to final results released early Monday.

The win gave Sarkozy a strong mandate for his vision of France’s future: He wants to free up labor markets, calls France’s 35-hour work week “absurd” and plans tougher measures on crime and immigration. (read more)

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Origins Mosaic International

I had a great week at the Mosaic Origins conference in Los Angeles. I have posted notes on most of the sessions. But the most important things to me were the intangibles. Mosaic's culture is something that is hard to describe. You just have to experience it. They have such a passion for the lost but they live it out in everything they do rather than talking about it. I got a glimpse of what the new testament community of faith might have felt like.

I also met a lot of people doing international work. I roomed with a pastor named Chris from west of London. I met 2 guys from Dublin. I met a church planter in Z├╝rich. There were more than 30 people representing 6 churches in New Zealand (they call them Kiwi's). I met a church planter from South Africa. I met for the second time, Phillip, who spent 6 weeks in Paris dancing in a cabaret show (pic top). I met Chris and his Russian wife Ira (sp?) who are planning to plant a church in the Balkans (pic middle). I later roomed with Henry who is a fashion buyer from New Zealand (pic bottom - guy on left). Those were just the people I met.

In the past couple of months I also met an American guy who has spent a lot of time in Paris singing for the opera. I also know a guy who has Christian friends looking at starting a modeling agency in Paris.

This world is a very small place. I now have a much better picture of what it means to be a world Christian.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Yellow Monkey Pajama Burglar

Here is my wife's explanation from her blog of her email about breaking back into our house a few nights ago that I had posted here yesterday..

Okay, he left out the part about how I went outside to get a book out of the car, and when I came back to go in, the door was locked. We have a couple of those doors where you can lock it from the inside, yet still open the door from the inside, but not the outside. I prayed, "Lord you are not doing this to me!! (I wondered if He was laughing thinking, "Sweetheart, I did not do this to you, but it is fun to watch). I prayed, "Lord please do not make me call the police from a neighbors house in my pajamas at midnight... and I would rather not sleep in the car."

Speaking of cars, I dug in all the cars for any set of keys because we sometimes leave a set in them because we have gone somewhere together, or, we just left them laying on the floor or in a drawer... I found none. The kids even have a set the like to play with that I know were in the car the past couple of days... no such luck.

So my next idea was to look for an unlocked window on the porch (we have a wrap around porch, so there were 3 opportunities... they were all locked. So I went to the front door and rang the doorbell incessently for about 5 minutes realizing that that was not going to wake anybody up on the second floor (remember my oldest child is 6). The only response I got was the cat staring at me through the window from the stairs and then looking up the stairs almost as if he understood my delima and thought, "would someone please come help this crazy woman."

I then went around and checked windows again just to make sure there were none unlocked, and then ring the doorbell again. I did this over and over a few times in desperation while I prayed, "Help me Lord!!" I then decided to check some other windows on the back... praise the Lord for a full moon, it made it easy to see the window latches on the back windows in the dark. I finally came across a window to my husbands office where one of the latches looked half locked and the other one unlocked. This window was my only chance before I climbed up on the roof. Praise the Lord also it was in front of the airconditioning vent and easy to reach.

I poked some holes in the screen where the latches to the screen were and tried to get the screen out without bending it. When I realized that was not going to happen, and I was not even going to be able to bend the screen, I thought, "buying a new screen is less embarrassing than going to my neighbors...", so I stuck a few fingers in those little holes and ripped the screen all the way to the bottom. I pushed on the window for a minute... and the lock, that was not quite half latched, finally popped up and I was in. I couldn't believe it! I almost cried.

"Thank you Lord that I did not have to face my neighbors and the police in my yellow monkey pajamas tonight."

Mosaic Origins - Eric Bryant - Session 7

Water – love is the context of all mission (Core Value)
  • We have to overcome Christian stereotype to become missional.
  • Acts 2:47 - They were enjoying the favor of all people. They were seen as a sect or Cult.
  • If we would have experienced the upper room at Pentecost would we have gone out from that room.
  • We expect people to go through a lot of effort to go though the motions of doing what we do for nothing of real value. Like beating a pinata full of worthless candy.
  • We need to be intentional about developing relationships with lost people in our community.
  • There so many lonely people who just need friends.
  • 1 cor 6: 7 Why not be wronged or cheated. Why not just forgive. Make things right rather than be right. Are we willing to be wrong and be cheated with those around us.
  • We live in a world who does not like the truth. A few weeks ago their we three believers killed by Muslim extremists posing as seekers in Turkey. Top government officials said “what do you expect, this is a Muslim nation. The wife of one of the believer's killed forgave the killers on Turkish television. She did what 1000 missionaries could not have done in that country.
  • Matt 4:19 come follow me and I will . . . answer your prayers? fulfill all of your needs? No, He said I will make you fishers of men.
  • He are called to a life of sacrifice to help others. The hobbit inspired us to work togther for a greater cause when Hobist and humans and dwarves came together. The cause of Christ is a much great cause than this.
  • The civil war did not start over slavery but over power. As the war raged on the north began to see those former slaves fighting beside them and began to read “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Then it became about slavery as they began to care about those people. The church is like the North who do not care about the lost people in slavery. We need to learn to care about these people that are so unlike us who are trapped in slavery.

Mosaic Origins - McManus - Session 6

Fire – Relevance to Culture is not optional. (core value)

A lot of churches focus on being relevant on Sunday. If we were relevant on Saturday, we would be more relevant on Sunday.

Elijah on Mt Carmel story – Is there any fire when we were present.

Goodie – Former QB at University in New Mexico.
He brought out 5 people who are leading ministries to impact their community in areas from feeding hungry, human trafficking, inner city youth clubs and things like that. They are making a big impact in their community. They have been very successful in getting lots of volunteers mobilized for these ministries and they have partnered with existing programs rather than creating their own. They even work with non Christian groups. These opportunities often go without the platform so share the gospel. But this effort always opens doors of faith.

Mosaic Origins - McManus - Session 5

Mission is why the church exists.
But, 99% of people who claim Christ never lead another to Christ.

When most people come to Jesus and they are not embracing the mission, they come to Jesus with a consumerism that is all about them.

The Great Commission is why the church exists. The church is not here for us. We are the church and we are here for the world.

Kim McManus came out with 10 women who are leading and serving in the SHE ministries. They come from a wide diversity of gifts, ethnicity, and time serving. They gave awesome testimonies of how God is using them.

Erwin – How soon do you get a person on mission? Just after you cast the demons out. In Mark 5 Jesus sends the man back to his community right after he casts the demons out.

We are much better at raising the money and buying the tech than waiting on God to send the Wind and fire.

WOOD - Structure must always submit to spirit. (core value)

Trees are living organisms. You plant them, they grow, and they bear fruit.

Chad Becker, Navigator, brought about 15 people on stage to tell the Mosaic story of all the past and present venues. It was so awesome to hear how God has worked so powerfully when problems arise with venues and in 1 week or sometimes 1 day or even a few hours they would have to change gears and do something totally out of the box out of necessitiy. These surprise stories always lead to the miraculous had of God. Chad said that he would love to own land some day but frankly he hopes it never happens because it would change their culture that God has used so powerfully.

He talked about following the cloud in the wilderness. Structure must submit to spirit and the spirit is in the cloud.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Mosaic Origins - McManus Session 4

My laptop battery died so the notes below come directly from Eric Bryant.


In the afternoon we started with a documentary of our core values.

We were reminded of the importance of helping change what we value even moreso than what we believe. We cannot take people further than we are willing to go. If we value what God values, our beliefs will change to resonate with God. If we believe the right things, that doesn’t ensure we live the right kind of lives.

Mosaic Origins - McManus Session 3

My Battery died after lunch so the notes below are taken directly from Eric Bryant.


One of my favorite performances we’ve had this past year was Television Evangelist by Odd Thomas.

Erwin: Too often, we have biblical language without biblical meaning. In the process, we have turned the movement of Jesus into an institution, moving from relationship to a religion.

Ralph Neighbour (III) transitioned Inland Community Church to become Mosaic Inland, now one of the Mosaic campuses. The most difficult part of the transition was shifting the focus of the mission of the community from serving Christians to serving the Inland Empire. They came to a crossroad: preserving the past or risking to create a better future. As a pastor, Ralph had created a co-dependent relationship with his people. He created a culture in which the community needed him. The challenges have been worthwhile as new people have gotten connected to Jesus and to community that would have been overlooked in the past.

Q&A: How do you help move people to maturity?
People become what the environment reflects. Help your environment become missional.
Move people into leadership and levels of influence who you want others to become like.
Preach from a perspective that the Scriptures need to be obeyed. Maturity should be measured by the speed at which someone is willing to obey God not the amount of information a person has about God.
Serving others with others moves people to become hungry for what they need to know from God.
A missional life helps take care of the heresy and immorality which should exist in our communities as a result of those outside of the church we are serving and connecting.

Mosaic Origins - McManus Session 2

Ethos is an emotion; a cultural experience.
Every nation and movement began as an ethos.
If your are creating and shaping an ethos you are the leader.
Your Ethos is "the things you are willing to fight over; things you affirm."

Example: No one would take off their shirt in this conf no matter how hot it gets in here. Go down to Santa Monica and everyone does it.

The greatest counselors in the Bible were also warriors. David, Jesus, Peter.
We have created a Christina religion and killed the movement of Jesus.
Erwin - My job is not to feed Christians but to make them hungry.

We keep discipling Christians in the same process that is not making disciples.
What actually develops mature followers of Christ?
Maturity is the gap time b/w understanding and obedience.

Ralph Neighbor – planted a church out of mosaic – got no people from mosaic but grew at about 100 people per year to 1000 then back to 300=to 400. Then did a reinvnetion.
Had to find a way to reach the new people who were coming in. Then the church became Mosaic Inland campus.

Erwin said they're not seeker sensitive. They are insensitive to everyone.

Ralph dad Ralph the well know author, came and researched Mosaic for a long time and then determined that this was a good move for his son and that Mosaic is the real deal.

For leadership, they have a ruthless measure of commitment to actually practice, not just know, truth. They don’t care how much you know but how committed you are to living it out.

In Q&A when asked about the house church movement, he said there is no movement in the US that he knows of. House churches are effective in persecuted churches.

I Love My Wife - Even the scatterbrainitis

I received this email from her late last night last night.

Honey,

If you are still up, I just wanted to let you know we need a new screen. It would also be good to put a spare key outside in case we get locked out… and could you leave your phone on so in case somebody broke in our house and tried to hurt us at least I could get in touch with you.

Me

I can just picture her tearing off the screen and climbing in the window in her pajamas at mid-night. This really happened.

Mosaic Origins - Erwin McManus Session 1

The Origins Conference began this morning in Pasadean, CA. These guys are just over the top i their creativity. I strongly encourage you to follow their vodcasts. But you really have to see their creativity live to get the freedom to dream things you never dreamed the church could be.

Anyway hear are some random quotes (b/c Erwin and Mosaic do not have organization in their DNA)

People follow you and then begin to follow Christ.

Acts 17
Origin is about reaching Dionysius and Damaris.
Stop worrying what the Peter’s and Martha’s say. How can we engage Mars Hill? We all want Pentecost but we really need to learn how to reach those at Mars Hill.

Peter was a better communicator than Paul. Paul only had 2 converts, Peter had 3000.
How many would find more pleasure reaching 1 Dionysius than 3000 Joshua’s?
Paul has to figure out how to jump into a world that does not understand Christ because he cares about those people. He was burdened for the city of idols.

Their response was “ what is this babbler trying to say?” They asked him to come unwrap what he is saying to them a little bit more.

It is about retranslating and learning how to connect. Learning how to speak the soul of a language. People don’t just hear the words we speak they hear a subtext.

Paul is probably saying “everything I have done in the past is not going to work here” He looked around to find something to use to translate. Then he found the unknown god and said I know him. I am not bringing god to you but telling you about the god who is already there.
We often say I am taking God to some place. But, if God is not already there he is not God.
All of human history is a complex way of human relationships so that people may come to God. He designed the exact time and place for everyone to live so that they might know God.

How do we create the kind of churches where people like Dionysius and Damaris say. “oh I get it.”

1 Thes 1:2 – model church
Your faith in God has become known everywhere. They were not just claiming God but living there lives in such a way that Christ was living though them.

Paul never gives us a model just an Ethos or faith, voice of hope, and love. We need to learn how to live by faith, be known by love, and be thought of for hope.

He alludes to the community of Faith Hope and love in acts 2. Together, everything in common, enjoying the favor of all the people.

4:32 - all believers were one in heart and mind.
The power of this movement was that they were unified in their values.
You can believe in things without caring about them but you can’t care about things without believing in them. Essence and values are those things that unite us in heart and mind. They are crucial.

Erwin was told by elders years ago that he wasn’t leading and didn’t have faith. He knew that he was leading just enough to keep them growing but wasn't really taking a risk; at the level for which he was called.

We are going to be a proof that God can be trusted and risk everything. A lot of us have taken a salary and undersold our souls. What would it look like to live by faith and love and became a voice of hope? The church became a place where people came because there was hope here. That is a great adventure.

We need to create a church where when people walk away from the church they say “I am tired of a life of faith and love an hope.”

Are you living a life of faith, where if God doesn't come though you will fail?