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Church as Trailer?

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In this third installment of interview videos with Michael Frost, he deals with the question of the purpose of the church. Frost proposes a wonderful metaphor of how he believes the church should function.

If you would like to view the previous Frost videos as well as other videos that present ideas important to the church, you may visit or subscribe to the almost an M You Tube channel or feel free to sign on to this blog page for email notifications or the RSS feed.

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Need for a re-Think / Human trafficking

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Here is the second installment of an interview with Michael Frost–co-author with Alan Hirsch of The Shaping of Things to Come and REJESUS. In this segment, he speaks of a majority in the west that are “disgusted, repelled, disturbed, [or] want nothing more to do with [an attractional model of church].”

russia badge2 Sharing is GoodThe U.S. State Dept (2004) estimates that 600,000 to 800,000 men, women and children are caught in international human trafficking every year. A majority of those are female and half of them are children. This unthinkable crime is happening on an epic scale.

Anne Jackson, author of Mad Church Disease and prolific blogger, is increasing awareness about human trafficking in Eastern Europe and Russia–some of the main exporters to Western Europe and the U.S. prostitution industry. Please check out her thoughts throughout the week to learn more about the modern day slave trade and possible ways to be involved in acts of mercy and justice for those involved.

Categories : trends, video
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Future Learning

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Last month I had the privilege of spending some time with Michael Frost and his lovely wife. One of the primary reasons for this time was to shoot some video for an upcoming project…more on that in the future, but it will be great! During the video shoot with all of the normal professional video gear, I plopped a little Flip Video cam up to capture some of the content and make it available sooner and to this audience. The upside is the videos will be made available in short clips over the upcoming weeks. The downside is that there were constraints on the editing that can be done which impacts the audio a bit. Also, it required some creative video editing that gives Frost a bit of an angelic appearance. Perhaps that’s not such a bad thing. (smile)

In this first piece he identifies some of the problems faced and insights available for those that have been about disciple-making and church-planting in cultures that are a little further down the road of secularization and appearing more and more as a post-Christian context. At this point, let me make a brief plug for readers to consider the issue of disorientation that is facilitated by being involved in international and/or cross-cultural engagement.

Categories : video
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G2g: Disassociate

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Key principle #2 for moving discipleship from great to good: Disassociate the spiritual from everyday life.

G2gTo limit discipleship to the realm of the good, it is helpful to compartmentalize things that are holy or sacred as distinct from other common or secular things. The good allows for reduction of spiritual things to the eternal condition of souls and the church as well as the nature and worship of God. There is upside to this minimalization. The limited range of topics allows one to delve deeper into the cognitive learning as the focus reduces the scope of areas to address. Additionally, with emphasis on a narrow definition of that which is sacred, requirements for disciples and those that would make disciples are minimized. For example, how one conducts business, interactions with neighbors, and family relations will not need to be under scrutiny except for when it involves eternal soul issues. Ultimately, the categorization of sacred vs. secular allows those who are righteous to disassociate from those that are unrighteous in most areas. Ongoing, interactive relationships are not important except for the moments where the gospel is being proclaimed when seeking to make disciples in a way that is good.

Throughout His life, Jesus did so much to blur the lines of the sacred and the secular for the purpose of showing the mercy, grace, and glory of God. He did most of the teaching we read about in the gospels outside of the temple. He allowed a woman to anoint His feet with oil using her hair while reclining in the home of Lazarus. Interacting with the immoral Samaritan woman, He once again confounded the categories that religious leaders had established and maintained. Obeying His mother’s instructions, he changed water into wine in the stone jars that were reserved only for ceremonial washing. Also, he ate in the homes of sinners and tax collectors on more than one occasion.

Jesus was not simply content to come and be in the presence of the lost, but He made it His purpose. He shared that He came “to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many” as well as “to seek and to save that which was lost.” His stories revolve around the lost coin, sheep and son. He told of the wealthy father that ran to embrace His filthy, stinky son who had squandered his wealth living as a hedonist. He provided examples and a lifestyle that belong only in the realm of the great.

In his awared-winning book Seeing God in the Ordinary, Michael Frost writes:

The truly converted souls know that gratitude is the stuff of life. Our eyes are wide open because we’ve learned to see God’s goodness in the most mundane things. We see God’s grace revealed in movies, books, stories, good food and drink, sport and hobbies, cooking, small talk, raising kids, shared laughter, and strong coffee. And for this we are eternally grateful. Such gratitude sets us free from using others as objects. It liberates us from codependent, needy relationships.

(In the excerpts from my non-book, Great to Good (G2g), truth or satire may be employed. At times, the two may even meet.)

Categories : church, discipleship
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Discipling the Least of These

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From time to time I will be posting original writings of guests from around the world. In this post, a strategist / practitioner in Florida shares his goals and strategy for engaging some of “the least of these” through a ministry to impact lives both inside and outside of the prison systems. Thanks friend!


iStock_000005740624XSmallThe Vision is for the Matthew 25 Mandate to be obeyed and the Acts 1:8 Strategic Challenge followed and The Timothy Initiative of  2 Timothy 2:2 started in the correct missiology of  Luke 10:1-3 prayer to the LORD of the Universe to send workers into HIS harvest because the harvest is truly great, but the workers are few! So therefore…

We are committed to recruit, train, and develop missionary individuals and couples who will learn to LOVE the “least” and go into the prisons (long term incarceration) on MISSION TEAMS to build relationships through Training for Trainers (T4T) and then to share their homes with former youthful offenders, adult inmates, and sex offenders that they already have relationships with.

As we start small faith communities GOD will grow them into Missional Church Plants. Each disciple disciples others AND each new believer is a church planter (missionary) AND each planted church is a church planting church (with GOD’s SENT and SENDING divine nature)!!

It is not all about making believers. It is about making disciples! The discipling process takes years and is a function of ReJesusing the missionary so they can ReIntroduce the LEAST of the brethren to GOD in obedience to His mission. This will add salt back into the Western church incidentally, in the process!

Categories : discipleship, missiology
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Rob Thomas Sings to the Church?

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1242075770.20243.concert2Last night I took my lovely wife to the Rob Thomas concert. We have always been intrigued by the significant amounts of truth in his lyrics. As we were called to a “celebration of music and life” by each of the three acts, there were times where the logic just did not follow. For example, early on, Carolina Liar’s singer, Chad Wolf, spoke of this celebration that we had gathered for and then dedicated the song to all the people that hated their jobs and could barely stand to get out of bed. For some reason, I questioned whether or not I was ready to celebrate this particular angst. But all in all, it was an enjoyable night and a very good show.

Each of the three acts had songs that spoke of the search for something that was real and true and worthwhile. Also, themes of love, redemption, and forgiveness were addressed. A few songs that may be worth checking out include Carolina Liar’s Beautiful World and Show Me What I’m Looking For as well as One Republic’s Someone to Save You and Come Home.

My favorite song of the night was Thomas’ opening number–Fire on the Mountain. This is a song written in a post-Christian, immoral world where justice is crying out to be heard. His lyrics can speak, I believe, to the church. What it says to the church will depend on the church itself. For some it may be a call to action. For others it will be a call to change the music ASAP. The lyrics are here for consideration, but I encourage you to give it a listen to get the intensity of the problem and the emotion that the “eyes wide open” church might encounter (Frost, Seeing God in the Ordinary).

Fire on the Mountain by Rob Thomas
Fire on the mountain
Through the fields
Save yourself
There’s evil in the garden
But you don’t see it
I can tell

How do you sleep while the city’s burning
Where do you go when you can’t go home
How do you drink when there’s blood in the water
Where do you turn when the world moves on
When the world moves on

Fire on the mountain
You can feel it
Against your skin
You’re standing by the river
Let the river take you in

I see smoke out on the horizon
Mama get your baby
Take her down to the water
I feel the wind like a promise broken
I see the future but it’s getting farther

If you take the time to give it a listen, consider talking with other believers you walk life with and envision a video that depicts the world about which Thomas sings. Then have a re-listen and redo your story boards with the visual being the church on mission that is living like Christ.

Categories : church
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More Than Community

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Yesterday I had the privilege of being on mission with a wonderful group of people. I was amazed as this church worked to bless their community. While helping to break down the largest of the numerous tents, I asked the pastor what percent of the church participated in the event–knowing that it had to be a high number. He responded that probably about 80% of the church members were involved. One person helping had just joined the church this week.

In this missional endeavor, there was lots of sunshine, heat, blisters, language barriers, a fainting, and so much more. Raised blood pressure levels due to deadlines, roles and responsibilities, and natural mini crises were an inevitable part of the day. With so many focused on the mission, these were just speed bumps to be crossed. The purpose was so much bigger than any one person involved. The goal was for the further magnification of the glory of the Most High. As a result, this church was in partnership together way beyond the normal connotation of “community.” What they experienced through this may be more aptly labeled “communitas.”

Good job CHBC! You are a church on mission! Thanks for letting us be a part for the day!

Categories : missiology
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Exilic Living

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It was my privilege to participate in an international church planting conference in 2007 where Michael Frost was the keynote speaker. Unfortunately his first talk is not recorded here. However, it is important to know that he began the conference with a talk on the post-Christian reality that: had already come about in Australia; was a functioning reality in Europe; and was in the process of becoming reality in North America. (Note: these talks were delivered almost two years ago. During that time, trends have not, in my estimation, slowed or reversed course.)

In this follow-up talk he covers material from a book he coauthored with Hirsch–Exiles. Frost borrows some ideas from Brueggemann about the Hebrews living in Babylon and the resulting exilic literature. This may serve as a roadmap for how we can live a radical faith in our postmodern, post-Christian context.

The content shared here may disturb and disorient some. For others, it may begin or advance a process of reorientation that leads to meaningful change. I would encourage you to invite your spouse, your friend(s), and/or the team with whom you are seeking to share your journey of faith to watch the hour-long video with you. Grab some pastries, doughnuts, bagels, ramen, and/or something else to fit your palate and budget, fix enough coffee or tea to let them know you are serious about this activity as you have prepared in advance in order to honor them. Then view the video and set aside at least another hour to discuss it. Below the video are some possible discussion questions.

BTW – If given serious consideration, this is not easy material. Also, parts of the presentation are NOT APPROPRIATE FOR CHILDREN.

Some questions for discussion. (Don’t wimp out and do these solo!)

  1. In what ways does our context merge with post-Christendom?
  2. If we were to view ourselves as exiles, how would that change our praxis? How might it change our living out the Great Commission?
  3. What aspects that Frost shares do we consider implementing now? What does that look like?
  4. What do we need to revisit in the future? When do we plan to come back to this?
  5. Would the lost community around us agree with our discussion / conclusions to the above questions? How could we verify this? Is that a conversation we are willing to begin?
  6. What other questions should we be asking right now?
  7. How serious about this are we? Honestly?