Countdown to the Cross and Open Grave! (Lent 2019)

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I love the Lenten season! 🙂

Passover (some call it ‘Easter’) is the most important event in our world history, and yet it can sneak up on us. We often spend so much time focusing on Christmas, that we forget Part 2, …the dying to self-part and receiving new life in Christ! Christmas is receiving God’s gift under the tree and Passover / Easter is opening it!

It is a season, not just a week or a day, and it all starts on a Wednesday. The countdown to Easter Sunday is called “Lent” referring to a lengthening of days as the days get longer with Springtime! Lent is a time that we remember to die to our selfishness, and to choose to live free in Christ!

This year I look forward to using the daily verses (see Year C below) and the Divine Reading template. Come and allow Jesus to bring you new life through these daily readings…

1. List of Scriptures – Year C – Lent : Revised Common Lectionary

2. Your Guide – Reflective Reading Template (Lectio Divina) 

Theology: Are you a Settler or Pioneer?

pioneer wagon

This is from Brennan Manning’s book Lion and Lamb: the Relentless Tenderness of Jesus. (As read in class by Murray Dueck of Samuel’s Mantle)

There are two visions of life, two kinds of people. The first see life as a possession to be carefully guarded. They are called settlers. The second see life as a wild, fantastic, explosive gift. They are called pioneers.

These two types give rise to two kinds of theology: Settler Theology and Pioneer Theology. According to Wes Seeliger in his book, Western Theology, the first kind, Settler Theology, is an attempt to answer all the questions, define and housebreak some sort of Supreme Being, establish the status quo on golden tablets in cinemascope. Pioneer Theology is an attempt to talk about what it means to receive the strange gift of life. The Wild West is the setting for both theologies.

In Settler Theology, the church is the courthouse. It is the center of town life. The old stone structure dominates the town square. Its windows are small and this makes things dark inside. Within the courthouse walls, records are kept, taxes collected, trials held for bad guys. The courthouse is the settler’s symbol of law, order, stability, and—most importantly—security. The mayor’s office is on the top floor. His eagle eye ferrets out the smallest details of town life.

In Pioneer Theology, the church is the covered wagon. It’s a house on wheels, always on the move. The covered wagon is where the pioneers eat, sleep, fight, love and die. It bears the marks of life and movement—it creaks, is scarred with arrows, bandaged with baling wire. The covered wagon is always where the action is. It moves toward the future and doesn’t bother to glorify its own ruts. The old wagon isn’t comfortable, but the pioneers don’t mind. They are more into adventure than comfort.

In Settler Theology, God is the mayor. He is a sight to behold. Dressed like a dude from back East, he lounges in an over-stuffed chair in his courthouse office. He keeps the blinds drawn. No one sees him or knows him directly, but since there is order in town, who can deny that he is there? The mayor is predictable and always on schedule. The settlers fear the mayor, but look to him to clear the payroll and keep things going. Peace and quiet are the mayor’s main concerns. That’s why he sends the sheriff to check on the pioneers who ride into town.

In Pioneer Theology, God is the trail boss. He is rough and rugged, full of life. He chews tobacco, drinks straight whiskey. The trail boss lives, eats, sleeps, fights with his people. Their sell-being is his concern. Without him the wagon wouldn’t move; living as a free man would be impossible. The trail boss often gets down in the mud with the pioneers to help push the wagon, which often gets stuck. He prods the pioneers when they get soft and want to turn back. His fist is an expression of his concern.

In Settler Theology, Jesus is the sheriff. He’s the guy who is sent by the mayor to enforce the rules. He wears a white hat, drinks milk, outdraws the bad guys. The sheriff decides who is thrown into jail. There is a saying in town that goes: those who believe the mayor sent the sheriff, and follow the rules, they won’t stay in Boothill when it comes their time.

In Pioneer Theology, Jesus is the scout. He rides out ahead to find our which way the pioneers should go. He lives all the dangers of the trail. The scout suffers every hardship, is attacked by the Indians. Through his words and actions he reveals the true intentions of the trail boss. By looking at the scout, those on the trail learn what it means to be a pioneer.

In Settler Theology, the Holy Spirit is the saloon girl. Her job is to comfort the settlers. They come to her when they feel lonely, or when life gets dull or dangerous. She tickles them under the chin and makes everything okay again. The saloon girl squeals to the sheriff when someone starts disturbing the peace.

In Pioneer Theology, the Holy Spirit is the buffalo hunter. He rides along with the covered wagon and furnishes fresh meat for the pioneers. Without it they would die. The buffalo hunter is a strange character—sort of a wild man. The pioneers can never tell what he will do next.

He scares the hell out of the settlers. He has a big black gun that goes off like a cannon. He rides into town on Sunday to shake up the settlers. You see, every Sunday morning, the settlers have a little ice cream party in the courthouse. With his gun in hand the buffalo hunter sneaks up to one of the courthouse windows. He fires a tremendous blast that rattles the whole courthouse. Men jump out of their skin, women scream, dogs bark. Chuckling to himself, the buffalo hunter rides back to the wagon train shooting up the town as he goes.

In Settler Theology, the Christian is the settler. He fears the open, unknown frontier. His concern is to stay on good terms with the mayor and keep out of the sheriff’s way. “Safety first” is his motto. To him the courthouse is a symbol of security, peace, order, and happiness. He keeps his money in the bank. The banker is his best friend. The settler never misses an ice cream party.

In Pioneer Theology, the Christian is the pioneer. He is a man of daring, hungry for a new life. He rides hard, knows how to use a gun when necessary. The pioneer feels sorry for the settlers and tries to tell them of the joy and fulfillment of life on the trail. He dies with his boots on.

In Settler Theology, the clergyman is the banker. Within his vault are locked the values of the town. He is a highly respected man. He has a gun, but keeps it hidden in his desk. He feels that he and the sheriff have a lot in common. After all, they both protect the bank.

In Pioneer Theology, the clergyman is the cook. He doesn’t furnish the meat. He just dishes up what the buffalo hunter provides. This is how he supports the movement of the wagon. He never confuses his job with that of the trail boss, scout, or the buffalo hunter. He sees himself as just another pioneer who has learned how to cook. The cook’s job is to help the pioneers pioneer.

In Settler Theology, faith is trusting in the safety of the town: obeying the laws, keeping your nose clean, believing the mayor is in the courthouse.

In Pioneer Theology, faith is the spirit of adventure: the readiness to move out, to risk everything on the trail. Faith is obedience to the restless voice of the trail boss.

In Settler Theology, sin is breaking one of the town’s ordinances.

In Pioneer Theology, sin is wanting to turn back.

In Settler Theology, salvation is living close to home and hanging around the courthouse.

In Pioneer Theology, salvation is being more afraid of sterile town life than death on the trail. Salvation is joy at the thought of another day to push on into the unknown. It is trusting the trail boss and following his scout while living on the meat furnished by the buffalo hunter.

However, this image below is key…

“Some people want to be slaves…”

…and what it means if we are not yet experiencing freedom…!

(Read the whole page below…)

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Lion and Lamb: the Relentless Tenderness of Jesus, Brennan Manning, Chapter 3, Fleming H. Revell Company, Old Tappan, NJ, 1986.3

Letters to the Church – Francis Chan

Francis Chan – Letters to the Church ( #paradigmshift )

letterstothechurch.francischanA few quotes from Francis Chan that will get you thinking…!

“God designed the Church to be much more than what the majority of us experience in America. There are many of us who believe this and want change. The good news is that God wants this change even more than we do.

The early church didn’t need the energetic music, great videos, attractive leaders, or elaborate lighting to be excited about being a part of God’s body. The pure gospel was enough to put them in a place of awe.

If you think that sitting back and letting the church staff feed you will bring you the most fulfillment, you are so wrong. God promised that those who give will be most blessed (Acts 20:35).

When the Bible describes the power available to you, doesn’t it sound like hyperbole? It seems so extreme, yet we see so little of this in our own lives and in the Church. The discrepancy could challenge your faith in the Scriptures—how can the Bible promise things we never experience in real life? But are you willing to consider that the Bible is accurate and the Church has domesticated us to the point where we doubt our power?

Church, the answer is not to build bigger and nicer cages. Nor is it to renovate the cages so they look more like the wild. It’s time to open the cages, remind the animals of their God-given instincts and capabilities, and release them into the wild.

Alan Hirsch said, “In so many churches the mission of the church has actually become the maintenance of the institution itself.”

It’s time to train people to live in the wild again.

There are elements of modern churches that on the surface seem like good ideas, but they can actually keep us from the biblical vision of unity, true fellowship, mutual love, and pursuit of the mission. Too many look at these elements and insist you can’t have a church without them.

I believe God is leading a movement in this country toward simple, smaller gatherings, and I long to see this movement gain greater traction. I get so excited when I dream about the Church spreading in small, invigorating expressions that look and feel like the early church. My goal is to get you dreaming about this as well.

My hope is simply to convince you that there are compelling ways of living as the Church that look nothing like our traditional models. My goal is to get you dreaming, to keep you from settling, to affirm that nagging sense you can’t shake that God wants something more for His Church than what you’re experiencing.”

Learn more about the book: ‘Letters to the Church’ by Francis Chan

What does freedom look like?

worship

I recently asked Jesus this question: “What does freedom look like?”

He immediately brought to mind the picture of the Israelites walking through the Red Sea escaping slavery… BUT … NOT grumbling and complaining in the wilderness wanting to go back to slavery …which, sadly, is what the Israelites did …and as a result died in the wilderness, not entering the promised land. It was only the next generation who were allowed to enter the Promised Land.

Today, I reflect on this promise: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
– 2 Corinthians 3:17

And I read this from Nicky Gumbel…from his ‘Bible in One Year’ readings…

Love and unity go hand in hand. The Tower of Babel is the symbol of disunity (Genesis 11:1–9). The people said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves’ (v.4). This act of pride and power-seeking led to disunity, symbolised in the confusion of different languages in the world. ‘The Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth’ (v.9).

The day of Pentecost was the reversal of Babel. The Holy Spirit enables people to say: ‘each of us hears them [speaking] in our native language’ (Acts 2:8). The gift of tongues symbolises the fact that the Holy Spirit reverses the disunity of Babel and unites all peoples and languages.

This is a common experience today as we see the Holy Spirit bringing love and unity across churches, languages and nations.

Lord, may we never seek to make a name for ourselves or our own church, denomination or movement. Rather, may we seek to glorify your name. Pour out your Spirit, O Lord, on the church as on the day of Pentecost. May there be a reversal of Babel. May there be an end to disunity. May your Spirit and the values of the kingdom of God bring love, joy, peace, true happiness and unity.

Wow…

As I continue to reflect on …what God is calling us to BE as the church …building God’s kingdom, rather than our own little kingdoms, this rings so beautifully.

Questions to Reflect on:

Where have we been trying to make a name for ourselves? (Rather than lifting up the name of Jesus?)

Where have we settled, perhaps becoming complacent, becoming stuck in ruts?

Where have we been looking backwards to the past?

Have we perhaps been controlling or manipulating a ‘move of God’ without asking for more of Holy Spirit?

Are we open to God moving outside the box in the future, no matter what He brings?

Ask the Lord, “What do you have next?”

Invite Holy Spirit to fall on your family, your friendships, your gatherings and be ready for anything that looks different than what you’re used to.

Be prepared to fast and pray for days… God longs to invite us into friendship with Him rather than just giving us marching orders.

Did you know that in world history, all the Revivals look differently? They each look like Jesus but not like each other. People may reject Jesus’ move of Holy Spirit when He doesn’t fit their box. Let us not be people who reject God’s Spirit because He doesn’t fit our traditions.

My Prayer:

“Holy Spirit lead us to be ready for each new day of what you are doing. Thank you for your move in the past, but let us not settle and build our own little kingdoms around your movements. Let us instead, build your Kingdom by following your every move! Yes & Amen! 💗🙌

Quote Source: https://www.bibleinoneyear.org/bioy/commentary/3171

Are you ready for new wine?

What does it cost for new wine and new wine skins?

So often we want God to move but when He moves differently than we want, we shut the door on Him. Let’s not be stuck, but hungry for more of Him. You can’t see the new thing unless you let go of the old. God is on the move.
 
I enjoyed a delightful conversation this morning over coffee as a faithful friend and I reflected on all the changes we’ve experienced together. I found this video afterwards thanks to my friend and it reflects MUCH of our conversation. My friend and I both agree we are in better places today and yet grateful for the hell we both walked through together – feeling like we were ripped out of an old wine skin. (Definitely, we experienced the ‘tension in transition’ as Craig speaks of below…) Yet, today, we are hungry for more of what God has next! And what we’re experiencing today is thanks to being open to more of Him outside of any box we unknowingly put Him in.
 
God, what do you have next for us in this new year?

I’ve enjoyed reading Craig’s words on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/daily.prophetic/

and on Twitter…

Making Disciples WHO MAKE Disciples

I was recently sent an interview with Roy Moran on disciple making movements.

Some of the quotes…

In order to make disciples who make disciples, you need to learn a new language. In a churched world, we have to tear down a lot of concepts.

It’s not about making disciples, but about making disciples who make disciples.

Making disciples who make disciples is a lifestyle.

Start with a group, rather than individuals…

Learn the space you are in. Where do people have relationships and activities there? Begin prayer walks there in order to learn it. Pray for God to lead you to people who are spiritually interested.

Below, I lined up all 3 parts of the interview for easy viewing… (each video has a short duplicated intro but each has new content.) Also, you’ll see below and after the videos, I share the resources he refers to.

 

Resources mentioned:

The Father Glorified: True Stories of God’s Power Through Ordinary People

Contagious Disciplemaking

Spent Matches – Roy’s book on being apart of an institutional church but with a missional focus.

Multipliers

Multipliers for Educators (I couldn’t find it but found this: http://multipliersbooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Multipliers-Minimizing-Accidental-Diminisher-Tendencies-May-2017.pdf

Teaching as a Subversive Activity – Neil Postma

Seth Godin’s blog – often relates to DMM – (missional thinking)

Discover DMM

DMM Learning Lab

Hermie Smit on DMM – YouTube

DMM City Team – Now NewGenerations

Read Roy’s: “Hybrid Church” here… (free resource)

 

 

Why not Canada?

Originally posted by Light Magazine Canada (but blocked by security browsers).

why-not-canada

by Don Klassen

“Why not here?” is the question that pesters me when I see the growth of the church in many parts of the world. What is it that makes the gospel so appealing elsewhere?  Is there something that Canadian Christians are missing? Have we adopted habits that are hindering us? 

Pastor Roy Moran in his book Spent Matches confesses he is weary of putting increasing effort and finances into practises that result in diminishing returns. Over time we have become more and more dependant on attractional programing, professional leadership and expensive buildings. There are a few larger churches that are able to experience modest growth with this approach but most of that growth is at the expense of churches that can’t provide the same level of attraction. Many Christians now gravitate to churches that “meet their needs”. Non Christian Canadians seem largely unimpressed by the attractions the church offers. Television, sports leisure and the great outdoors here in BC are more attractive than church.

In the first centuries the church experienced rapid growth. The early disciples had no money, no power, no human leader and they were outcasts in their own society. How did they begin a disciple making movement? The disciples had a life changing encounter with Jesus, the willingness to obey, the power of the Holy Spirit and lots of contacts. 

Large movements to Christ on other continents today share similar characteristics. We have the same potential in our area. We need to take a closer look at how essential ingredient of Disciple Making Movements can once again take centre stage among Christians in British Columbia. If we do our part I am convinced that God will do the rest. 

Pastor Merri Ellen Giesbrecht was exposed to Disciple Making Movement (DMM) over two years ago. She says “In the first year of focusing on DMMs, I found myself discipling a dozen new people I had met just out on the town. There were so many divine appointments. I have a new passion and joy in disciple making, without the need to find volunteers for any programs. I love it!”

Learning from what is happening around the world I would  suggest the following practises take centre stage in BC:

Refocusing on intense sustained prayer for the lost and for transformed communities; Unleashing the potential of Christ followers to share their faith and to disciple their families, friends and neighbours; Modeling obedience to the voice of the Holy Spirit as Scripture is interpreted by ordinary people in the context of their culture and in the presence of friends or family; Focusing on multiplication rather than on addition.

Outreach Canada is promoting an event entitled “Disciple Making Movements: Why Not Canada?” Participants will take an exploratory journey into the steps of starting a movement in their own back yard.  

Ultimately a Disciple Making Movement is entirely dependent on God. The best we can do is begin praying and developing some of the same habits the early disciples had. Only God knows what will happen then!

(Posted originally here: https://lightmagazine.ca/2018/10/why-not-canada/ but many of you cannot access it because their site has not updated.)

My thoughts after going to this event listed above that happened on October 20 in Surrey entitled “Disciple Making Movements: Why Not Canada?” (outreach.ca/registration/dmm. ) :

Well, today was an incredible day!

We got to hear how disciple making movements are going in Canada, what prevents disciplemaking, and what key elements we need to remember. So many powerful stories! The key is to keep groups small 5-7 and no more, completely relying on Holy Spirit. Once you get bigger, you become formal and growth slows down.

A pastor I once worked with was there. He came over to me after lunch to say ‘hi’. I asked what he thought of it all. He said it is a big paradigm shift for him. One pastor shared how pastors need to work themselves out of a job in order to fulfill the Great Commission in Canada.

The question was asked: “What is the greatest source of error and false teaching?” The answer was revealed. Seminary trained leaders who want their own followers. Higher learning without reliance on Holy Spirit is the main source of error.

Oh my goodness, the day was incredible!! 60 people were packed in the basement. People were rocked with a new paradigm!!! But it was all well received! They got it! They saw the statistics of the decline of institutional churches in Canada and the high speed spreading of the Gospel in house church/disciple making movements.

We got to gather in groups of 3 to pray and to read the Word in such a way that we asked questions to allow Holy Spirit to teach us.

And we got to hear from Ray Moran who wrote: “Spent Matches” https://amzn.to/2J8ALIa for institutional churches to help them with implementing a hybrid strategy (kinda like a gas-electric car). I loved that book! In it he shared actual stories from his church who does this very thing of large gatherings BUT movements within. MUST read for any large church leader hungry for more of disciples who make disciples.

It felt like I was witnessing a shift in people’s minds perhaps how Peter felt when Jesus changed his perspective! New glasses.

Who is My Shepherd?

jesushugDisclaimer: my thoughts are all over the place. There are birds flying everywhere. 🙂

I’ve been processing another recent moral failure of a church pastor and watching the church fall apart. This man was a mentor to me in many ways. It was because of him and his wife, that I was encouraged to marry my husband. It was because of him that my prayer life became more important than being busy. It was because of him that my leadership became more courageous. And yet, I have noticed something… His moral failure has not rocked me to the core. I watch as his church falls apart and I’ve been wondering if the church is falling apart because they knew the voice of him as their pastor more than the voice of Jesus?

I watch how the rate of burnout, infidelity, depression, and suicide amongst pastors seems to be increasing. Is this because people are following them rather than Jesus?

Sometimes I hear people say: “We go to this church because of the pastor, or because of a certain family invited us, or because of the program for my kids…” And then, I’ve watched how the pastor leaves, or the pastor falls into moral failure, or the kids get too old for the program… and then the family leaves completely disillusioned and maybe even walks away from Jesus altogether. But, were they truly walking with him in the first place? Or just with the pastor?

Lord, are we following people, programs, or you?

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” – John 10:27,28

Yes, granted when one in our family falls into moral failure, the whole family suffers. Yet, I’ve also been pondering how when your whole foundation is built on Jesus, anything else that is loving is a bonus. And so when there’s moral failure in your leadership, you lean into Jesus more than ever and bounce back higher than you ever were before.

(As long as there’s repentance. And when there’s no repentance, you need to move on, or at least fire this person in leadership. No matter if you want to forgive them or not, without repentance, you cannot move forward …as is… under their leadership. Submitting to an unrepentant leader only brings curses upon yourself.)

Just some thoughts to process… as I’m going through a paradigm shift of…

“Who is called to lead the church?”

Some people say: Men only.

(…But, then we read the Gospels, Acts, and the Pauline Epistles and see women leading everywhere in the church…empowered by Jesus and by Paul.)

But, I’ve been wondering if we have focused too much on people period, regardless of gender, and not enough on Jesus?

Thanks to Constantine who sadly institutionalized Christianity using the book of Leviticus rather than the book of Acts model, and plus my own pastoral training, my mind still forgets that we are called to be the priesthood of believers!

No professional pastors required.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

(And He later told His disciples to wait until Holy Spirit came!

…Yet, we still seem to insist on relying only on our Theology. By the way, there’s a book called ‘Systematic Theology’, but why isn’t there a book called: “Systematic Marriage”? …I’m being sarcastic. We can’t put God in a box, like we can’t put our spouse in a box.)

I love when the professional religious leaders of the day took note because, “These unschooled, ordinary men had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4)

There it is again. Relationship with Jesus.

Here’s another quote I heard back in 2014 which keeps coming to mind too lately…

“One day all the mega churches will fall apart, and we’ll look back and wonder what was going on in churches in North America.” – Dallas Willard

(Please note: Don’t think I’m entirely anti mega-church. In fact, this year I made a journey to attend a mega church to discover for myself if it was legitimately led by Jesus or not…and I was actually blown away by this church culture of honour. The Lead pastor continually honoured and empowered other leaders, male or female, and was quick to share the pulpit. He knew the love and goodness of God that He didn’t feel threatened by others. Rather, he cheered them on. In fact, it’s been through this mega-church pastor that I had been reminded that when leaders don’t think there’s enough of God’s love to go around, that’s when they walk in fear, jealousy, control and manipulation… But, when leaders know God’s love, they celebrate other people’s wins!  …But, here’s a thought… If this Lead Pastor were ever to fall into moral failure, would this mega-church fall apart?? Hmmm, that is the question…)

Anyway…

What are your thoughts on who should Shepherd the Church? Are we still relying too much on people and not enough on Jesus and Holy Spirit in North America?

Thoughts? 🙂 Share below…

Disciple Making Movements (DMMs) are Critical in Canada

set free butterflyI believe Disciple Making Movements (DMMs) are critical to the growth of Christ’s kingdom in Canada. Typically, church growth in Canada happens when people move from one church to the next. And, if there are new people coming to Christ, rarely is anyone discipling them. The goal is to make disciples, who make disciples, who make disciples. But sadly, traditional church growth is falling out of line with Jesus’ Great Commission.

However, with DMMs, the Gospel appears to spread more freely led by Holy Spirit, and within sub cultures that are typically hard to reach, with little to no money, seeing often whole families and neighbourhoods transformed, and with disciples making disciples (multiplication).

If we are honest, traditional church planting in Canada looks much like franchising a business – get a pastor, a worship leader, a building, and then run programs, a marketing program, and pray for a harvest. This takes an incredible amount of time and money navigating multiple variables and headaches.

On the other hand, I have noticed DMMs are primarily focused on building God’s kingdom, rather than little man-made kingdoms on the backs of one or a few pastors competing with other little kingdoms down the street. But, if we are competing, are we actually building God’s kingdom?

Two years ago, while digging in the Word after stepping down from 10 years of traditional pastoral ministry, I really saw how Jesus left the building and sent out His disciples to do the same with incredible power to displace the darkness. Since starting DMMs myself, I have seen God move faster than ever. I am seeing Him do things I never dreamed of.

Typically, a traditional church in Canada has been built on what God did in the past, and is often then forced to put tradition in the way of the Gospel.

Several years ago, as a pastor, I visited a strong Roman Catholic country which never saw the European Reformation. My heart broke watching people do things in order to feel like God loved them. Coming back to Canada, I realized we weren’t that far off in our Evangelical circles. So much of what we do in church is putting tradition above the Gospel. We tend to do things according to church membership and culture that is not necessarily the Gospel. Therefore, too often the Gospel is an afterthought behind running programs, recruiting volunteers and sitting in a pew listening to one person tell us what they think the Bible means. Where and when do we even personally interact with Jesus and hear God’s voice?

On the other hand, I have found DMMs to be more easily in flow of Holy Spirit, with people abiding in relationship with Jesus, hungry to hear what Divine appointments God has for His people each day, much like in the book of Acts. People learn to be directly taught by Holy Spirit, while in meditation of the Word, while in relationship with Jesus and others, and then immediately walking in obedience. I see so much opportunity to partner with Jesus in spreading the Good News, healing the sick, and bringing new life!

In this new season, each day is a new adventure!

For example, I wake up to pray: “Jesus, I’m thirsty for you!” After spending time with Him and His Word, I then ask: “What do you have planned for today?” One day, it looks like an incredible conversation with a person while walking my dog, or praying for someone while grocery shopping. One day, it is feeding the homeless with my family. Another day, it is praying for a woman walking with a cane on the street in her 70’s suffering with sciatica and watching Jesus heal her completely. Another day, it is sharing the Gospel to a man involved in a cult. Another day, it is hosting 2-3 people in our home for Bible mediation, fellowship and prayer. The emphasis is on relying on Holy Spirit to direct us to the person of peace. In the first year of focusing on DMMs, I found myself discipling a dozen new people I had met just out on the town. There were so many Divine appointments. I have a new passion and joy in disciplemaking, without the need to find volunteers for any programs. I love it!

Jesus loves to take us on treasure hunts, but we need to step out to search for Him and for those He is calling to Himself.I see how the ‘build it and they will come’ mentality is not at all what He called us to do. That was actually Constantine.

Jesus actually restricted 90 percent of his time to 12 men. And out of the 12, he restricted a large portion of his time to three: James, John, and Peter. This is now my focus: A dozen people and primarily three, teaching others to do the same. It appears even within a ‘Bible Belt’, God is doing a new thing and people are hungry for more of Him outside the traditional church experience. I am finding so many people walking away or disillusioned with the traditional church. No worries. It appears to be an advantage. DMMs appear to be the way to find those who are hungry for Him. After all, it’s Jesus who is the Good Shepherd, not our programs, the effectiveness of someone’s preaching delivery, or style of music.

If you seek to build a church, you rarely produce disciples, but if you seek to make disciples, you always get the ‘church’ …building God’s kingdom. 

DMMs are refreshingly focused on God, worship, fellowship, discipleship and evangelism. Disciples are trained immediately on how to make other disciples. It’s contagious!

But, what if you’re in a traditional church??

The tricky thing is being called by God into a traditional church.  But, when a person sees herself as a missionary in a traditional church and she has a hunger for Holy Spirit, I believe more movement can happen within the traditional church too. (In fact, some traditional churches are seeing the reality of the Great Commission vs. the obstacles of their church model and are making these necessary changes.) The key is whether the church leadership is surrendered to Holy Spirit or willing to be.

Need a Disciplemaking coach?

A DMM coaching circle helps me to keep focused on the goal of walking in step with Holy Spirit listening for His lead, rather than relying on my personal theological knowledge. After all, we are leading people, not to a belief system, but to the person of Jesus whom we are in love with, to hear His voice for themselves, and know His abundant life.

To learn more, come to our workshop…

If the Gospel is spreading so fast around the world through Disciple Making Movements: Why Not Canada?

Character of Leaders?

I was pondering the C’s of leadership lately as many of us have been disappointed in leaders lacking the character to walk faithfully and courageously.

Some people say that a leader should have character, charisma, commitment, courage, competence…

But, have you ever noticed how God seems to never look for people with outstanding character to call them to leadership?

Just read the Bible and look at the motley crew of disciples, the heroes of the faith listed in Hebrews…and all their mistakes…

Does rather, God seem to take people and transform their character (if they surrender and trust Him)? Or even like David who was initially in good character, but later lapsed in character under the pressures of leadership…Thankfully, he later repented and God’s compassion still came…

(That is the key for any leader. Repentance is a beautiful thing that returns us to the path God has chosen for us. Without repentance, we lose the inheritance God has promised – even often for those we lead.)

Yesterday, at a women in leadership luncheon, I got to hear the story of how an employee lapsed in character (out of fear of not measuring up to expectations). But, the employer’s loving response casted out the employee’s fear… resulting in huge trust in their relationship. It was a beautiful God-filled thing!

The employee told the story of her own lapse in character. To admit what she did – you could sense the room gasp and I saw her neck turn slightly red as she must have felt like she walked off a ledge… But the story of how her employer responded to her – no scolding but with love and compassion. Wow – Jesus with skin on. I think what was shared was a wonderful shifting in perspective of what many have experienced from our leaders (both men and women). Jesus never shames us, but only empowers and calls us up to walk out our inheritance in Him.

Our character may lapse, but when we admit our mistakes, God’s compassion and blessing affects not just us, but everyone we lead.

And when we forgive those who admit their mistakes, we invest in them and encourage them to take hold of the inheritance they have in Christ.

But, when those who lead us or those we lead don’t admit mistakes, the relationship is broken and God’s inheritance is unclaimed.

Repentance.

Restoration.

Relationship restored.

(PS. Also got to hear a cool story yesterday of how a person was healed physically after their leadership repented.)