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Encouragement

Hebrews 10.25 talks about believers encouraging one another. I never really got that verse. Probably because most of the time people used it they were focusing on “forsaking the assembly,” or something like that. But today I understand.

If you’ve checked this space lately, you noticed that our congregation is in the middle of participating in the H2O Project with the proceeds going to Living Water International.

The first time Rochelle and I did the project, not drinking water was very difficult. This time that hasn’t been hard at all. This time other things have been hard and discouraging, but today I got a HUGE dose of encouragement from believers.

First of all, funds have already come in from people who know they won’t be at our worship gathering this Sunday. I’m starting to feel that God is going to do some amazing things through our efforts. And secondly, one of my friends, Joe Hays, read about the project in this space and his church is planning on doing theĀ  project as well. When I think that $2,000 will give a community in India a well, and I imagine what our congregation can do and what Joe’s church (CCFB) can do, and what your church and 1,000’s of Christians can do, I’m floored.

For a long time I’ve spoken about changing the world, but now I’m actually starting to believe it!! We can do amazing things when we simply choose to do them! God acts through us in amazing ways.

P is for Poor

One of my favorite authors and thinkers, Brian McLaren has a new book out this month entitled, Everything Must Change. Of course, I ran out and bought it though I’m 6,000 feet deep in reading. I had dinner with Brian last year as he was working on the book. The working title was “Jesus and the Suicide Machine.” They changed it. But, honestly, can you think of a book title more provocative than “Everything Must Change”?

Anyhoo, I’ll be slowly making my way through the book and from time to time share some thoughts I find particular useful and/or provocative. Here’s one from chapter 2.

“… I also knew that most churchgoers, including myself, either didn’t share that concern for the poor or didn’t know how to turn concern and good intentions into constructive action. Even though we believed that the poor should be helped–that poverty should be fought–we didn’t know how. We had heard liberal and conservative arguments blaming poverty on everything from capitalism to communism, from corruption to bad trade policies, and from debt, to selfishness or immorality of the poor, government regulation of business, and badly administered charity. We seemed polarized by our idealogical diagnosis of the causes and cures of poverty, and even worse we were paralyzed by our polarization, and so the poor continued to suffer–trapped by their poverty and our polarizing, paralyzing arguments about poverty.”

The Sky is Falling

sky-falling.jpgI’ve been working my way through Alan Roxburgh’s The Sky is Falling. Here are some salient quotes from the first half of the book.

“America’s religious history has been deeply shaped by the nation’s history and social formation. Beginning with the massive suburbanization of the nation in the mid twentieth century, a deep conviction has developed (particularly among white, Protestant congregations) that individualism and economic opportunity are the highest expressions of Christian life.”
———-
Speaking of change:

“The need for control and predictability still assert themselves in powerful ways. Oddly enough, congregations and organizations that promise people a return to stability will thrive in this period, even though they can’t truly provide it. Since everyone is looking for stability, when these churches say they can provide it, people flock to them like moths to a flame. Then, to make it worse, the promise seems validated because certain types of congregations do thrive (and they are generally homogeneous, middle-class, and suburban). Other leaders then see them as signs of hope and choose to copy their tactics, though doing so only pushes them even farther from embracing the transition around them and honestly addressing its demands.”
———-

“At a recent conference focused on church growth and seeker-directed leadership, a Mennonite pastor walked into an elevator I was using. Bemused by the discrepancy between the theological and ecclesial imagination of Mennonites and the nature of the conference. I asked him, why a Mennonite was at such an event. His response was quick and direct: ‘Because it works!’ In the midst of massive discontinuity, disembedding, and transition, leaders desire to find something that ‘works’ rather than stopping long enough to understand what is actually happening…They seek external resources that promise ways of reinstating control without changing the substantive nature of the system. There is little thought put into the question of fundamentally reinventing the system itself.”

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