Monday, October 13, 2014

Leadership Advance!

It is perhaps the most important thing we do at City Campus Church.

We don't meet 4 Sundays a year.

And one of those Sundays, all the leaders and apprentices get away for a weekend called the Leadership Advance.

It is essentially a family vacation. 16 of us in one house on Lake Erie.

Praying. Playing. Laughing. Crying.

Shaping the things to Come.

My primary task as the leader of City Campus Church isn't to shape or cast vision.

It isn't to study and preach the Word.

It isn't to develop killer systems that do nice things.

It isn't to care and shepherd.

All of those things are important roles, but the primary task is to pray for and replicate leaders.

Jesus didn't hang out with the 5000 for very long. He knew that great teaching and shock and awe miracles would never sustain a movement. He knew he would be required to continually "one-up" himself to keep the crowds engaged.

But to focus on 12? To invest in 12? Jesus knew he could change the world.

He entrusted not just his teaching or his insight or his wisdom to those who followed Him, He entrusted His life.

And the world has changed drastically because of that move.

Shaina and I are not Jesus (shocker!), but together we can invest in 12. We are clearly not as skilled or wise or strong as Jesus when it comes to making disciples, but anything that is worth doing is worth doing badly. We will get better and better at it.

And while Jesus led his 12 to change the world, maybe we could let God work in such ways that we could at least change some neighborhoods in our city.

I can't do more than I can do.

But if what I can do is show others how to do what I can do so that they can too show what they can do to others, discipleship happens.

And last time I checked, if you follow Jesus, this is your calling.

Has anyone ever showed you how they do what they do as they follow Jesus? Are you showing anyone how to do what you can do as you follow Jesus?

Monday, October 6, 2014

My Suspicion With God

I've watched the gripping, captivating story "Twelve Years A Slave" a couple times. Once in theaters and once since. It is striking to me that for many who experienced slavery, the story was greatly shaped by who the master was.

If you had a gentle and loving master, you may have had a more tolerable experience as a slave.

If your master was not trustworthy, you may have had a terrifying experience as a slave.

What I'm realizing is that this is how I have viewed my relationship with God.

I go back and forth between viewing Him as a trustworthy God who is for me, who cares about me and will not give me a stone when I need bread...

and this other God who either causes or can't prevent the melancholy of sadness and heartache for the world, let alone me.

Hardship has been the way for so many.

And when I think about the last two years with significant losses in our family and this little munchkin who went from sick heart to sick bones to sick head, I find myself suspicious of good news. Ok God, so Chaia got a pretty great report at the Cleveland Clinic this past week. Her heart is stable even as she is growing and gaining weight. She made it on the growth chart for the first time in two years. She had the docs and nurses laughing and smiling.

But the bottom will fall out right? That's been the story to date. Good news, laced with not good news. Her pseudo tumor...will that cause vision loss or require surgery? Her not eating food...will that cause her to have significant problems in the future?

And much of this story boils down to the trustworthiness of the master.

This has been my view for years. Does He have good and love and life for His servants?

But something is shifting in me that might be the most important move of my life. It's subtle, but Hebrews 3 might be the heart of this shift.

Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. 2 He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. 3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5 “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.

The writer of Hebrews says Moses is an epic dude. Faithful. Just like Jesus. Except Moses was faithful as a servant in all God's house.

BUT Christ is faithful as a Son in the house.

I'm becoming increasingly aware that I have been content hanging out with Moses in the servant house on the edge of the Master's property. At best, I can hope that the Master will remain good and trustworthy so my experience as His servant will remain tolerable and maybe even relatively good compared to some of the other poor blokes around me.

BUT Jesus is nudging me that what He did at the cross wasn't so I would get servant status in God's household, but that I would be invited to come home...adopted by the Father...a son.

I have an easier time believing the trustworthiness and goodness of a Father who has chosen and adopted me to be part of his family than I do believing the trustworthiness and goodness of a Master.

One leads me to a state of BEING. One leads me to a state of DOING. One bought my identity. One seeks constantly to earn my identity.

Much of the Christian faith is boiled down to two questions:

Is God good? Is God faithful?

I don't know that you can answer these questions accurately from the servant quarters.

Maybe you're like me and much of your life is spent living the way you ought, doing the things you must, avoiding the things you can and then wondering why the Christian karma equation isn't adding up. And it leaves you suspicious. Is God really good? Is God really faithful?

And maybe the word for you?

Sons and Daughters, come home.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Here We Go

Going to the Cleveland Clinic tomorrow. Geneticist/Cardio/Neurology. Appointments and tests for essentially 5 hours straight. Seems like a lot of variables at play. Checking heart function. Talking pseudo-tumors/pressure on optic nerve.

Chaia has grown and gained some pounds since her last visit.

The theory is that at some point her body will out grow what her heart can sustain.

We're asking that God would continue to mock and laugh at that theory and bring complete healing.

Would you ask that with us?

Pray for Chaia to stay calm and allow the exams to take place.

Pray for Shaina and I to have our hearts and minds protected. The hospital has this uncanny ability to magnify hope and despair in significant ways.