Week in Review: Best Reads

Twitter has opened up for me a whole new world of  thoughts and ideas.  I’m incredibly blessed by those who keep baring their souls and challenging me to think deeply.  Here are my favorite reads from this last week…I encourage you to read them.

David Fitch offers a compelling piece about engaging in incarnational ministry.  I found his description of Church as Body invigorating:

I want to propose however that the Incarnation is more than a contextual model for ministry. It is more than a way of following Jesus among the disenfranchised.  It is a way of engaging culture as a people. The incarnation is that means by which God entered the world to be among us. God came in the sending of the Son, and in Christ, God (re-)birthed a people by the sending of His Spirit as a continuation of Himself (John 20:21-23). In this “sending of His people,” God extends His Trinitarian work into a people who engage the world. Christ’s presence, His rule is made known by the Spirit among a people. This happens in real life as we gather around the Eucharist (where His presence is made manifest and shapes us into a reconciled and renewed people). This happens in real life when we hear (in the Spirit) the Word proclaimed and respond in the Spirit as a people. This happens when we share fellowship(1 Cor 12), meet the poor (Matt 25), receive the authority in each other’s “gifts”(Eph 4) and when we gather to discern conflict (“there am I in the midst of you) (Matt 18). In all these ways, by the Spirit, God is “with us” and in us and we become his hands and feet in the world. God forms a people for Mission in the world.”

Read the whole thing here http://www.reclaimingthemission.com/4-building-blocks-for-a-missional-ecclesiology-leading-a-church-into-mission-2-the-incarnational-engagement-w-culture/

In a similar vein, Jason Coker discusses grace received and given in the gift of a burrito.  A powerful example of how to enter Christ’s ministry of grace.  He correctly surmises,

Grace, you see, isn’t an abstraction. Rather, it’s born by the corpus of a gift. This, in my opinion, is a critical point to understand, because like most things theological, we have a tendency to abstract grace into oblivion.”

Be challenged to take grace out of the box and let it flourish in your life.  Read his post and be encouraged to this end:  http://hk2z3.th8.us/

Mart De Haan makes some important points about the wisdom of God.  Do you have it?

The cost is a willingness to yield. The wisdom of God is not marked by a fear of losing control or face. It is not stubborn in the face of reason. Instead, it is seen in the price Jesus was willing to pay to entrust himself to the Father while being led like a lamb to the slaughter for us (Isa 53:1-7). It is the far smaller cost we pay to reflect the wisdom of the One who knew that his well being did not lie in the hands of others, but in the arms and embrace of his Father.”

Consider the other factors he insists sets apart the wisdom of God  http://beenthinking.org/2010/11/06/the-goal/

Ann Voskamp provides a moving piece on the power of a legacy.  Having attended a poignant memorial service this week for a friend who lost his mother, I can commend her suggestions to you as a means of leaving behind very good material for those who will speak of you after you are gone.

Who memorizes God in the age of google?

Losing a way of life…  and losing our way….

Communing with the Holy comes in committing the Holy to the heart.”

When did I lose my first love?”

Grab your box of kleenex and be drawn into her tribute and respond to her charge http://www.aholyexperience.com/2010/11/time-to-return-to-your-first-love-make-a-commitment-booklet/

He used to fix my computer when I wasn’t smart enough to do so myself, but now he and his wife are in Haiti fixing hope.  They left every comfort here to walk in the suffering of others so that they wouldn’t have to do so alone.  Lucas Simmons writes about bringing Jesus to Haiti and captures with his camera the smiles and sadness that drew his heart to God’s heart for Haiti.

that’s why when the government told people to evacuate their tents and go somewhere safer no one did.  where else was there to go?”

Read about his journeys here and then pray for he and his wife as they direct these precious Haitians to go to Jesus.

That’s all for this week.  Any destinations in your journey that you would like to share?


The Congregation of Thanks

“My feet stand on level ground;
in the great congregation I will praise the LORD”  Psalm 26:12.


Willie Gills at Church by Norman Rockwell

I am giving thanks for my church family today.We are not a perfect lot (because I, for one, contribute to the whole), yet we are a special ‘lot.’   God intended that we would belong to something bigger than ourselves. There is safety; there is strength…there is love.  This love is not a Hallmark card variety, but an active, participation in sharing a treasure together.  The Church’s treasure is Jesus! To share with others in His work and wonders colors outside the lines of individuality and creates a masterpiece of His beauty, truth and goodness.

When I think about my church family, I am thankful for:

1. 5th Graders.  My husband and I teach them every Sunday and I have never seen a more hungry group of children.  Hungry for donuts, but not satisfied until we’ve dug deeply into the feast of God’s Word. They will ask me the toughest questions about the Lord that I will get all week.  Watch out!  The next generation are thinkers...I believe they are going to shake up the church and quite possibly spill out into the unreached places for Jesus sake.

2. Co-Workers.  I work alongside some of the most beautiful (inside and out) women!  They are dedicated to their ministry.  They get that ministry is not only what you do, it’s how you do it…and they do it beautifully.

3. The Representatives of the Generations.  I love the diversity of age present in my church. I often sit in the back, because from there I can see the now sloping shoulders of the woman who has walked with Jesus for 50 years as she stands alongside the broad expanse of the high school boy experiencing worship like it is his first Messy Sundae.  It moves me to tears every week to see with my own eyes the mysterious way in which Jesus can draw all shapes, sizes and ages with His love and then put them all together and make them fit. Amazing!

4. Voices.  We are not a shy group about declaring our wonder in Jesus.  We sing loud songs of praise.  We declare boldly the truth of His Word and esteem its Giver.  Our gathering is one frenetic with testimony–in the sanctuary, in the halls, and around the coffee carafes.  If you are struggling with doubts, one weekend with my church family will remind you God is still at work and His voice is still speaking in the hearts of men and women!

5. Servants.  So many serve week in and week out.  Many at great sacrifice, but all with incredible enthusiasm.  Special is the church where service is treated as a privilege rather than an obligation.

This is the way the Lord intended it to be: One body, joined together by Him as a testimony of His love, power, and grace. Enjoy His gift today and give thanks that He had you in mind when He prayed,

I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in Me through their message.  May they all be one, as You, Father, are in My and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me.  I have given them the glory You have given Me.  May they be one as We are one. I am in them and You are in Me.  May they be made completely one, so the world may know You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me.  Father, I desire those You have given Me to be with Me where I am.  Then they will see My glory, which You have given Me because You loved Me before the world’s foundation.  Righteous Father!  The world has not known You.  However, I have known You, and these have known that You sent Me.  I made Your name known to them and will make it known, so the love You have loved Me with may be in them and I may be in them”  John 17:20-26.

Amen.  May it be so.