Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Forgotten...

I have to say that the most enjoyable part of my job right now is my breakfast and lunch meetings.  Yesterday was a prime example.  I went to lunch with a new friend David Gillham who, with his wife Elaine, have decided to partner with us in the launch of the new church.  I had never spent any time with David, didn't know anything about him really except that he was my dad's age and that he worked for the post office.  But I quickly realized, after we sat down and began talking, that David and I have a very similar passion....passion for the kingdom!!

As we talked, one of the things we discussed, as it related to the kingdom of God, was the recognition that Jesus was very intentional in the people he pursued for relationship.  These relationships were the context of his ministry, the people to whom he brought the kingdom.  Infact, at the outset of his ministry he makes it very clear who those people will be.  He said, "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoner and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

Who did Jesus name as the those he was pursuing for relationship?  The very ones in their culture who were outcasts, spiritually marginalized and forgotten.  As David and I talked we began to wonder who these forgotten people were in the area where we are doing the new church.  Who are the ones the church has passed by or not pursued for one reason or another?  The damning question may be, Why have we forgotten them?  These are all questions we have to begin answering.  
As David and I talked we decided we want to be a church that is naming and pursuing the forgotten of our area. What are your thoughts?  Who are the forgotten where we live?  Why do we forget some but pursue others?   

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Aslan is on the move...

In the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe one of the clearest pictures of Gods kingdom coming on earth is the idea of spring breaking into the perpetual winter that has been facing Narnia.  This winter began as a result of the work of the enemy in the land of Narnia.  However now that Aslan, the Jesus figure in the book, is approaching in His fullness, spring is breaking into winter!
I love this picture of spring because it makes sense to me.  While living in Omaha one of the most difficult times of the year for me was the end of March and early April because I was so tired of ugly, dirty snow covering the streets.  I vividly remember one spring I came home to Georgia to go on a three day fishing trip with my dad.  Spring had already begun to burst on the scene as temperatures had risen, trees and flowers had started to bloom and as we fished the chills of our Omaha snows melted away in my mind.  As I boarded my flight back to Nebraska the memory of snow had been replaced by the sounds of birds chirping and children playing and I couldn't wait to get back and dive head first into the joy of a new season.  But tragedy struck.
On the flight back to Omaha, as we were nearing the state line of Iowa and Nebraska, I looked out the window of the airplane to see, of all things, a freak, early spring snow shower that ended up dumping about five inches of snow in Omaha.  I was crushed.  I hate to say I was depressed but at the time it was definitely the word that fit my emotions most clearly.  Instead of spring breaking into my winter, the cold, lifesless and dreaded winter had invaded MY life-filled, joyous spring. 

When Jesus tells his listeners "The time has come.  The kingdom of God is near.  Turn and believe the good news", he really believes it is good news.  Why?  Because Gods kingdom coming to earth means that spring is breaking into winter.  Life, freedom, joy, salvation is breaking into the places where the enemy has been bringing about death.  And the beautiful thing about spring is when it comes, it does so in a complete manner, meaning nothing is left untouched.  There is never any snow left on the ground when spring comes to Nebraska.  It may try to hold on but ultimately it all melts away and gives way to spring.  So it is with the kingdom.  His kingdom is over all and affects all and our life and action must represent this reality.  
Question: What do you think it means to be a "Kingdom Minded People?"  What winter do you think Jesus wants to bring His spring into?