Archive for October, 2010
Here is Hirsch with some thoughts about the imperative and pervasiveness of discipleship. Thanks to the Verge Network for making this available.
Planning to start posting video Friday again. There has been some really good stuff put out lately. Will be linking to some of that in case some of you missed it and posting original video still from time to time.
First up is Francis Chan as he shares about how he is processing his call to be obedient and a challenge to us to figure out what is weird or normal in obedience in our generation. (Thanks to Rastis at Changefish for bringing it to my attention.)
Mac or PC? I switched over in 2003 and have loved my Mac experience ever since. The first few years I used a Mac, many would ask me why I chose Apple over PC. After sharing my reasons and how pleased I had been with my user experience, there was usually a litany from the other side regarding how PC was superior. To that I would ask if or when they had used a Mac. The usual line was that they did not need to try Mac to know that PC was superior. And I share this because….
This post continues a discussion of a question Billy Mitchell is posing (addressed on this blog in the previous post): “Can a Christian ‘live out Acts 1:8 ‘being witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth’ without a passport?’” Justin Woulard answers this question in the affirmative. Because of the flattened earth that is now the USA with a confluence of ethnicities, financial constraints and other factors that are difficult or impossible to change, he states that there are times where a passport is not needed.
To this I would share that “I agree, but….” In fact, Justin has excellent points of which churches need to be aware. For example, I agree that the nations are around us and we are to make disciples where we live. I agree that we can resource with finances and prayer those that do have passports and are able to go. BUT it is my experience that it is easier to find ways and reasons not to go rather than to find ways and resources to go. It is easier to be content with what I already know than to put myself in a situation where nothing will be familiar. It is easier to find excuses and more pressing things than to be about the nations.
I encourage pastors, planters, leaders, and disciples to find a way to be disoriented through going to another nation in obedience to the Great Commission. The outcomes will vary. Some will become consumed with it and have to reorient their lives for this purpose. Others will benefit from it as they have a new awareness and drive to engage the nations locally. Still others will be so glad that they are back in the U.S., resolve that they never want to leave again and commit to praying for and helping others go. All of these are good outcomes.
So use a Mac if you want to. But I implore you to find a way to go on mission internationally for some period of time. It will change you. It will change your church. For the church to think and act like a missionary, she must at least dabble in cross-cultural missions. Otherwise she will be content to know what she knows as it has to be superior to what she has never experienced. Huh?
A friend of mine, Billy Mitchell, is now asking this question passionately and often. Why this question and why now? Having just returned from being in St. Petersburg, Russia for a week, he comes back to his normal, everyday context disoriented in the best of ways. Likely still challenged with jet-lag, he is envisioning, scheming, plotting (whatever you want to call it) ways to get back to the people in Russia. Also, he is looking to connect with the Russian community in St. Pete, FL. He is now known as the Russia guy because he talks about it so much.
He is leading his family in pursuing global agility as they seek to find ways to be able to make disciples of other nations. This includes pursuing a passport from Canada for his wife and now praying that his children marry people from other countries. Yes…he is praying for his children to marry people from other countries as he seeks to lead his family to have what Billy calls global agility—being able to move around freely in pursuit of being obedient to Acts 1:8.
Billy is where he is because he was where he was. Use of his passport to go to another people is now helping him to see things in a different way with a heightened passion. If individuals or the church are going to think and act like a missionary, then it is worth pursuing opportunities to be in a completely different culture where you begin to see things in a different way. The end result may be a new or renewed passion to reach people in another land and/or to reach those in your community. But immersing yourself in a cross-cultural situation will change you—I believe for the better.
One pastor, J.D. Greear, has made this a part of membership requirements at his church because he believes so strongly in the call we have to the nations. Why does he make this a requirement? Perhaps because he invested a couple years of his life in another part of the world sharing the hope of Christ.
Billy writes: “Can you live out Acts 1:8 without a passport? Sure, but why would you want to?” I agree. Get a passport and use it. It may make a difference in the lives of many people. It will definitely impact you.
Imagine if at the end of basketball practice one day the coach says “tomorrow is the big game day. I want you all to wear your favorite jersey you can find laying around your house. Grab whatever ball or sporting gear that you like and then go to some field or court to play the game at 2:00 tomorrow. Chances are that I won’t be there.”
That would be more like recess rather than team sports. The above scenario does not embody what we would normally view as a team. Instead, this would be a whole bunch of people going out to play–whatever and wherever they want.
In conversation with a dear friend last week, I discussed the differences of a team and an association or a group. In working through some of these concepts with a “team” that is going out on mission, one of the leaders threw out the term community. That makes sense! This alleviates the pejorative connotation that comes with association of group in comparison with our much revered word team.
Undoubtedly, in mission there are some groups of people that are functioning as a team in every sense of the word. Others may function more as a community in most situations. While both will have a shared objective, only the team will have a shared strategy to achieve the ends.
Check out the latest blog on UC’s site to read more on this from my friend Bill Lewis: http://blog.theupstreamcollective.org/2010/10/04/were-a-team-right/