In February of 2013 I accepted a position as a Church Planting Intern in Maine. This position is a one year contract where my responsibilities will cover a wide range of duties. Ultimately in the coming year I hope to catalog the year as I learn, study, and minister in this way.
The first book on my list to read this year was Church Planter by Darrin Patrick. This was a great primer to the seriousness and specific nature of a church planter. This book is divided up into three sections focusing on three aspects of a planter. The Man, The Message, and The Mission. Interestingly enough, it was the Preface that I remember the most. This is where Darrin details a prayer that he prays with his son that has me thinking of how I can pray specifically for my sons and daughters as they grow.
God, make me a man with thick skin and a soft heart. Make me a man who is tough and tender. Make me tough so I can handle life. Make me tender so I can love people.God, make me a man.
I want to create one for my daughters as well, frame them, and hang them in each bedroom. I have been challenged to be more purposeful in how I pray for and with my children.
Without going into great detail about every chapter I will say that Church Planter IS NOT a how-to book on plating a church. This is a gut check for any man looking to plant a church. It is a clear calling to the specific message of the saving power of THE Gospel of Jesus. At the end of each chapter there are very helpful questions designed to bring about introspection and in every case they worked for me.
As a CPI in Maine I do not feel called to plant a church right this second. What I DO want, is to help plant churches. This will end up looking like nothing I had planned, but I know that God has a specific plan for the coming year.
Please join me/follow me/encourage me as I take the next year and open my heart to God. Here is a promotional video for Church Planter from back when the book came out in 2010.
Wow there is a lot of sin in my life. I am amazed at where my mind goes when I take my eyes of Christ. I believe that God graciously healed my wife. She should have died on March 13th if not for my God saving her. So why is it that I now need to protect her as if I am in charge now? It’s as if I have said to God, “I’ll take it from here.” I can not take care of Laurie. Only God can. Do I understand this?
Two weeks ago I had nothing to cling to but God. Now I still have nothing to cling to but God, however, I am chosing not to. I am clinging to my perceived control over her life. I have heard so many nurses say that Laurie is such a strong woman, that I am starting to believe it. It’s a lie! Laurie is not a strong woman. Laurie is a weak, weak woman in desperate need of her Savior. What condition her physical body is in is irrelevant. The only control that I have over her is given to me directly from God. He alone is in control of all things, ALL things.
Paul does not give us any other option in Galatians 3 when he says O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?…Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? I understand that God has made me a steward of creation in general (Genesis 2:15) and my wife in specific (1 Peter 3:7) but do I honestly think that this is done by working hard? Meganointa! It is not by works but by faith that ANYTHING happens.
It is not that I sit back and wait for God to work His magic, I work in faith to earn money to live on. I serve her in faith to wash her in the water of the Word. I care for her physical needs not because I can control her needs but because in faith God will meet her needs through me. Do we see this shift in thinking? Do we see the inability to do anything on our own? Many people have wondered why I have been so ‘at peace’ through this time of soul training. My answer is simple. Jesus.
I am sad. Sad because of what I am seeing. Facebook and twitter are lit up. Blogs everywhere, and especially in Maine, are dripping with hate. Words are used. Attitudes are held. Fists are tightened. Lines are drawn.
I wish I knew which way Jesus would have voted on Tuesday. As I stood there at the Hollis fire barn with pen in hand, I prayed. I prayed that I would be true to my conscience which ultimately is the Holy Spirit. I prayed that God would give me one last measure of wisdom before I connected the arrow. I was literally shaking as I left the booth. Did I vote in honor of Jesus or not?
I know that most if not all of you are sure that there was only one way that honored God. And I have close friends who either would have, or did, vote both ways. Yes or no. No or Yes. There were a lot of issues that pressed on my decision. How the law in question was passed, how the Church is treated in that law, whether it mattered one way or the other…does this law change my role as a follower of Jesus Christ?
What I am seeing now is cause for concern. When facebook and twitter glow with praise that ‘our side won’ I immediately thought of the people dancing in the street on 9/11. I know it is much different, I am not trying make a connection other than that is where my mind went. “Down with those who do not believe as we do!” I’m having a hard time finding where it is our job to create a nation politically, in order to save people. I realize it is our job as Christians to vote…but in the words of Ron Sargent…”Change lives not laws.” And before the other guys get all excited…could you please give us a status or a blog without swearing or accusing of hate and bigotry? Is that all you have? The hate that spews/flows/gushes…can’t think of a strong enough word here…is astounding. I’m sure no one will remember this the next time it comes up for voting…which I am sure it will soon. Speaking of the next time. I wonder if the wording will be as kind to churches next time it is written and passed? Makes me wonder if it was as bad as people thought…will it be worse next time? No ‘clause’ protecting churches?
May the grace of Christ cover us all.
Here is a video with good information regarding pancreatic cancer.
This past weekend at Lead09 was quite a trip. I kept oscillating between happiness and sadness as I saw both who was there, and who wasn’t. Knowing what the Gospel can do in the life of God’s church, I was saddened at the faces that I did not see there. Some are faces I would not expect to be there; but are saddened none the less. However, as I looked at the crowd of people who had gathered in Auburn, Maine to rededicate their lives to Gospel, Community, and Mission; I was given Joy from the Giver of Life to see people striving to live on mission for God. Both Tim Chester (blog) and Jonathan Dodson ( creation project – church planting novice), while under the power of the Holy Spirit, proclaimed Jesus’ name and called us to a life of worship through putting off the old and putting on the new.
Most if not all in attendance have many years of church experience, but not much Church experience. We were asked to put off church as an event and put on church as Gospel played out in community for God’s mission. These aren’t brand new themes, however, the point of the Gospel is easy to miss when we are not focused on Jesus.
Some favorite quotes from the weekend are as follows:
The burden of mission is laid on God, while the blessing of mission is given to us.
Christ did not die for ad hoc individuals
The church will never outperform the movies and t.v.
Pot luck dinners are an institutional answer to a communal question
The answer is always squirrel
The key is beer and nametags
I look forward to Lead10 or whatever they call it next year. Maybe Lead 1 aught or Lead 1 nil or even Lead 1 love…either way I am looking forward to next year.
It is inevitable. At some point we will not have any clue what is going on in the world. I don’t care how often you check the most popular tweets, you will eventually be out of the loop. We need to deal with it and move on.
Many of you I am sure have seen the recent Beloit College Mindset List and everything that is says about incoming college freshmen. In case you missed it, bottom line is this:
- The “green giant” brings up visions of Shrek not veggie picker.
- Salsa has always outsold ketchup.
- The KGB never officially existed.
- They have never used a card catalog to find a book.
- Gas stations never fixed flats but most serve cappuccino.
This is interesting to me, however not shocking since these studies have been going on since the 80s, but interesting none-the-less since I am in the place where I could go either way with some of them. A specific example is the green giant. If you were to asks me who the green giant is…I would say the veggie picker. However, I do not remember hearing about a gas station fixing flats except for stories from my dad. Ah the beauty of being an Xer.
So you see, at some point we will be out of touch when we come to the place where we do not see the world as our kids do. It is going to happen at some point. So, are you ready for it? I don’t think I am…well, I am ready to use all those saying like “when I was your age” and “we used to have to …”
It will be great. I just wonder when it will happen.