Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Simple Church Explanation, Because People Always Ask...

This document came from our last No. American DAWN meeting...

A certain “DNA” seems to be present within the indigenous simple church movements of North America. This DNA, though unplanned, shows that God is moving in a universal and mysterious way among peoples who were not influenced by the same people or ways of thinking. Like all organic beings, the church has a DNA, a basic make-up that makes her what she was intended to be. The three categories that are making up the DNA of simple church movements in North America are:

1.) A commitment to truth as revelation through Jesus and the Scriptures.

2.) A commitment to an understanding of gospel that is fundamentally relational, nurturing and familial.

3.) A commitment to understanding that every church is apostolic (sent out) and missional (on a specific journey).

In English, we can use “DNA” as an acronym to teach these truths:

D - Divine Truth

N - Nurturing Relationships

A - Apostolic Mission

Divine Truth includes the following concepts:

· The Living and Triune God of Israel and our ancient Christian fathers and mothers is the rightful King of the universe.

· God’s Kingdom has come to us in Jesus Christ.

· The universal church is God’s people, living within the continuation of the true story of Israel, Jesus and the church.

· Jesus is himself the essence of Truth. Truth, then, is a person, the Divine Word.

· Jesus is the head of every church and He holds the agenda.

· The Holy Spirit guides the church into the reality of God and his ways.

· The Holy Spirit is at work today healing the hurting.

· The Bible is our sole curriculum for teaching, training and mission.

· God is in ongoing communication with his people in many ways.

Nurturing Relationships includes the following concepts:

· The primary metaphor for church is that of a family.

· Most churches will remain small in order to operate as a family.

· Leadership within the church closest resembles parenthood with spiritual mothers and fathers.

· The church family is inclusive to all people regardless of age, sex, race or socio-economic status since it is a witness to the availability of God’s Kingdom.

· The church is made of people who have voluntarily submitted to serve each other for God’s sake.

· The church is a participatory community, in which people share their lives with one another.

· Children are a blessing and a vital part of a church, showing adults how to truly enter the Kingdom.

· Each church is committed to loving other churches of Jesus-disciples since they are part of a wider family within the Kingdom of God.

· Finances and resources are shared as needed within a church family. Abundant resources are then given to the poor and to support church planting.

· Every church is a community of priests.

Apostolic Mission includes the following concepts:

· The church itself is apostolic (literally, sent into the world).

· The church is committed to encouraging and releasing disciple-making movements.

· “Organic” simple churches allow for churches to emerge within walking distance of every person.

· People are attracted to the church by the transformed lives of sinful people, the unique lifestyle of the church family (holiness), and the unconditional love that the disciples have one for another.

· Apostolically and prophetically gifted people lead missional initiatives within the church.

· Clusters of churches are networked and cared for by a team of evangelists, shepherds and teachers who equip disciples for ministry.

· Churches are called to disciple the nations.

· Many of the best leaders of the church are still in the harvest fields.

· The financial and other resources needed for church and mission are in the harvest.

· Overseers who act as models and mentors lovingly lead local churches.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Unrelated Meanderings

I have been traveling a lot of late. My trip with my boys was good. We went to Reno and logged some quality time together. I was able to connect with an old friend there which was very healing. It looks like Paul and Jamie Evans may be going to Reno to start simple churches there. I am excited about the possibility of sending them.

I just returned from the North American DAWN Associates meeting in Colorado. It was encouraging. I will share more later.

I am going to grow a beard becase my friend Kevin Rains looks so cool with his.

Pray about Sabbath for me. I need to rest in God.

I was not hired at the community college. Turns out they want me to be qualified or something stupid like that. That would take a minimum of 2 years, I don't know if I want to work there that badly.

Dave Nixon is coming to lead us in a multi-church retreat in Prescott, AZ this weekend...Dave's my protestant franciscan house renovaten' friend from Cincy...He makes me happy.

Debbie and the kids are going to visit Memaw and Papaw in Indiana this weekend. Pray for Debbie as she will be trapped in a plane with my kids. Pray for the pilot that he stays off the juice.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

This Week

I will be leaving Las Vegas this Thursday with my friends Joe Patton, Tommy Peterson and Jeff Flick. We don't know where we are going...or why we are going. We want to experiment with God and see where he takes us. I'm feeling a tug toward Reno, but we may go to Socal or to a Native American Reservation in Arizona. I hope that we can learn a little something about listening and praying apostolically. Pray for our experiment and I will let you know what comes of our time together.

Also, it looks as though our house has sold to the second people who looked at it. Escrow is set to close December 5.

Monday, October 14, 2002

Trusting or Testing

During my recent blogging sabbath I was confonted with the harsh reality that most of my adult life has been consumed with testing God. Testing is so close to Trusting that it is easy to confuse the two. The 40 day fast of Jesus models trust for us and it is there that we hear him say, "Do not test the Lord your God." What's the difference? I still cannot say that I fully know, but I am inclined to believe that Trust is knowing that God will be on the other side of whatever leap is next. Test is jumping just to see if God is there to catch. Trust comes from being full while the test is an act of empty desperation. It is a leap all the same, but it is the difference between the leap of a child into a father's arms and the leap of a grown man from a burning building. The child fearlessly jumps because the father is good. The man fearfully jumps beacause the fire is bad. Both find a better place.

My buddy Kierkagard would likely say that test comes before trust and I would have to agree with him from my own experience. I hope that he would agree with me in saying that after many years of testing, it sure does feel nice to trust once in a while. I think not that I was so much purposely sinning as a tester, but I now see that real life is saved for those who trust. And so, for me, comes the next and possibly most significant conversion of my Jesus Journey...shall I convert to life within a God-bathed reality and leave behind the matrix of fear and doubt? I think I shall...It is a great irony, but I see that my final test of God might be to actually TRUST him with my whole life.

A conversion awaits me. Yet another night of the soul is about to give way to the light of dawn. I can smell the morning sun approaching and feel the dew of change upon my feet...I will let you know when this conversion in me is at last complete. Until then, I trust you to him, dear reader.

Saturday, October 12, 2002

Another House Update

As it turns out, Tina changed her mind at the last second. We were, however, able to talk with her and may meet her socially again. Another couple is making an offer as we speak.

Today is busy: I spoke at Canyon Ridge, had a good breakfast with Zach and Shad from my hc, im leaving now for Jimmy and Nicole's quasi-hippie wedding, then im hanging out with my improv comedy team, then dinner at the Moreales....

Friday, October 11, 2002

House Update

A single lady named Tina is close to buying our house. Please pray for her. (It would be great for us as well, but my heart has gone out to her for some unknown reason.) It seems to me that God may be using this situation to draw her into the Kingdom. She may be a person of peace as well.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

What's Going On

Hello all. It's been a while. I must say that blogging takes a backseat when life gets crazy. Here's some stuff:

1. We are selling our house so that we can move into a new home in March with 2 other families. We are trying the "for sale by owner" route for now. If you know anyone wanting to move to NW Las Vegas with an extra $157,900 sitting around let me know.

2. I have applied to be a part-time prof. at the local community college in the philosophy and religious studies department. I am slightly less than qualified, but I have a shot and really want to try it. Please pray for God to open a door that I can walk through.

3. On the church planting front, we seemed to have crossed over 30 churches in the Apex network. My friend Ramon has been updating the Apex Website I have heard of 4 or 5 new churches that may have started in the last 2 weeks...that's cool. Apex celebrated five years last week with one of our best gatherings ever.

4. Yo estudio espanol a las community college of southern nevada todos los mates y jueves. Muchos hispanicos vives en Las Vegas (mas de 20% de la ciudad habla espanol solamente.) Jesus amore los hispanicos tambien. Oras por mis amigos hispanicos en Las Vegas.

5. I am leading 2 Tyrannus training classes using a more eastern guru-apprentice style. It has been a wonderful experience in both settings.

6. I am listening to a new John Adams book on CD and reading a book about Caesar's tenth legion. I'm in history-geek mode these days.

7. I am thinking about fully converting to Christianity, but I will explain what i mean by that at a later time.