Thursday, June 24, 2010

World Cup 2010: The Gathering of Nations

32 teams from all over the world along with their millions of fans, again, from all over the world have gathered at one of, if not the, most celebrated global events ever, The World Cup 2010.

Personally, I love the World Cup with all it's amazing passion, variety of emotions, the celebrations, the nationalistic pride, and on and on and on, that we see in this video.

While this is one of the more celebrated gathering of nations, there is a gathering of nations that is coming that will top all events and gatherings that have taken place, combined; the gathering of all peoples to worship, celebrate, enjoy, the Lord of the nations, forever!

When the folks in Genesis 11 built their tower of Babel unto themselves saying; "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth", there might have been a problem.
But God immediately entered into the picture, creating mass confusion, and then doing the one thing they did not want to have happen, scattering them all over the face of the earth!
Then after God created a problem, He gave the solution, through Abraham in Genesis 12:3, making the promise that
"all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."

God has been gathering the nations unto Himself for His glory since that time and we can see the fulfillment of that promise when He said in Rev. 5: "and with you
r blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation." Then in Rev. 7 saying of those He had purchased; "After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne, saying: Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!"

As we enjoy this wonderful global coming together of nations, the World Cup, let us be about the real celebration of reaching the nations for His glory with the end in sight.

Watch this last video and be moved to pray, live, give, free from all the things that grip our emotions and lives, but firmly engaged in what He is doing among the nations, calling them together for ultimate glory, worship and celebration.

Enjoy this free eBook, Loving the Church, Blessing the Nations, by clicking on the cover.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The War Against Women....Missional Dignity

I find it interesting and somewhat amusing that as a man I am writing about the war again women, but this is something that has been on my heart for quite awhile now.

I start this post with a true story from the book, 'Nurturing the Nations;
Reclaiming the Dignity of Women in Building Healthy Cultures'. The story goes:

A radio preacher was talking about Christian marriage, pondering the meaning of Genesis 2:24: “And they will become one flesh.” The preacher asked, “How can the two become one?” After a moment, he answered his own question: “Only if the woman becomes a zero. One plus zero equals one!” A feeling of revulsion whelmed up from the core of my being. How could any Christian so diminish the wonder of a woman made in the image of God?

Tragically, this is the reality of our world and especially in developing cultures. One case in point is in Indonesia:

"My scar healed quite fast, but the sad, humiliated feeling stayed. I feel like I'm no longer complete, both as a person and a woman."
That is the testimony of Christina Sagat, a 32-year-old Christian from Kasiui, Indonesia, who was forcibly circumcised by her Muslim neighbors. Unfortunately, as traumatic as her story sounds, hundreds of women have endured similar oppression.
"My niece, Cecilia, who at that time was eight months pregnant, was also circumcised," Sagat said. "My mother, who was in her 70s, was also circumcised. Teenagers, and even infants, were circumcised. I don't understand these people."

Another comes from Afghanistan in this video:

I could go on and on with horror stories from around the globe and here in the US, but the question is this; what do we do with this? How do I take this in and actually do more with it than just feel bad about what is happening?

In our call from God, he says clearly in His Word;
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn. Is. 61

So, let's do just that.
For some great resource on how to respond to this need;

1- Click on the book cover for a free eBook of Nurturing the Nations "As a woman, it is so encouraging to read this confirmation of the precious roles of a woman in the Bible; not just taking care of her family and children, but nurturing the next generation of each nation, and even the world!", and

2- click HERE for a free Podcast on the plight of Muslim women and how to live missional lives among them.

Enjoy the book and Podcast, and let's pray and determine to live out the Scripture in light of the war against women.

Friday, April 23, 2010

National Day of Prayer..for what?

The National Day of Prayer was just last week and according to their website their vision and values are to:

Protect America’s Constitutional Freedoms to gather, worship, pray and speak freely.

Publicize and preserve America’s Christian heritage

Encourage and emphasize prayer, regardless of current issues and positions

Respect all people, regardless of denomination or creed

Be wise stewards of God’s resources and provision

Glorify the Lord in word and deed

I found this to be both intriguing and deeply disturbing. This 'US' centric rhetoric communicates a deeply entrenched self-protective mentality that is embedded in the DNA of the church in America.

I love prayer, I believe in prayer, and I believe strongly that we need to pray more frequently, more passionately, but more globally.

John Piper says; "We've taken this wartime walkie-talkie and turned it into a domestic intercom to call up the butler to bring us another pillow." This quote really does state a 'keep me safe within the walls of America' ethos, and unfortunately it reflects the mission and vision statement of the National Day of Prayer.

I love the model that Jesus gave us in His prayer, and it really isn't about the US, but about the nations...look at this.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed (glorified, known, adored) be Your name.

The immediate focus of His prayer is on His Father being known and glorified by all on.

Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven..
  • Neh. 9: 5b-6 says: "Stand up and praise the LORD your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting. "Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise. You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.
Is there any doubt that when Jesus says, 'Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven' that He is calling for worship by all peoples of the earth?
Right now the multitudes of heaven are worshiping our God, and Jesus starts out His model prayer crying out for that to happen on earth, just like it is in heaven.

The rest of the prayer goes into the areas of our life that keep that from happening, greed, lust, fear, etc.

So, for this year's National Day of Prayer...let's move beyond our borders and dare to cry out to our God that whatever it takes, make His name known and worshiped above all by all nations.
We have the amazing blessing and honor of joining our hearts with His to engage in the global battle for the fame of His name, let's take it on!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Losing our Muchness and Settling

Pop culture is full of cross-cultural and missional truths that are discovered in some rather fun and yet odd places.
Today we will discuss two places of discovery, the movie Alice in Wonderland, and the TV show 30 Rock.

It was interesting how in the span of a week, these two not-so-obvious resources of missional truth spoke to the same issue that I see plaguing the church, a miss-guided view of God's passion that has lead to a deep sense of apathy and settling.

In 30 Rock, Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) was convinced that she had found her her future husband. But, the more they got together, the more they realized that they were polar opposites and not a good fit, not even close.
Upon this realization and as they kept 'accidentally' running into each other, he told Liz: "Fate is telling us this is the best we're ever going to get. We're each other's settling soul-mates." The plague of settling, giving up, becoming numb and losing your soul.

In Alice in Wonderland The Mad Hatter told Alice: You used to be much more…”muchier.” You’ve lost your muchness. (watch video)

Alice, according to the Mad Hatter, was back in Wonderland to slay the Jabberwocky, but decided it was too much for her and she couldn't or wouldn't do it, even tho it was her calling.
She had lost her vision, her passion, her heart....her 'muchness', her will to be in the battle.

So, what does this have to do with being missional, and have we lost our 'muchness' when it comes to seeing God glorified among all peoples, and have we 'settled' into the abyss of the mundane?

John Piper says this: “Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever…” -John Piper

Our missional passion to see God glorified, which will drive our choices, flows out of one thing, our worship and view of God. All He does and has done is with a single purpose and passion, His glory among all people. As Alice had lost her 'muchness' to fight evil and do battle with the Jabberwocky, I wondered if I had lost my 'muchness' to be engaged in the fight with Satan over the fame of His name among all nations.

As I look in the mirror of Ps. 96 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness;tremble before him, all the earth.

I need to ask, how is my worship, my view of God, and how does that drive my passion to see Him known and worshiped by all peoples?

Let's not settle and lose our muchness, but let's pursue God's passion to be known and worshiped by all peoples.

To further help in how to align your passions with the passions of God, click on the cover for a free eBook

Friday, March 19, 2010

That the nations would know....

I honestly I, and I think I am not alone, am growing tired of all the political rhetoric about health-care, or as some call it Obama-care. Republicans are doing all they can to stop it and quoting countless emails and letters from Americans who say they don't want it. Democrats cite their own conversations from Americans who are hurting and without health-care. The tensions hit an all time high this week in an interview between Foxnews and President Obama, it was ugly....I just want it to stop, really.

The point of this communication is not the decide or even take sides in the health-care debate, our God knows and has known what will happen, but to call all of us to the very heart of God in worship creating a passion for reaching the nations for His glory.

The time, energy, passion, sleep, etc., that is used and or lost on this debate and others that sidetrack the church from being the church is exactly what the enemy wants to happen. I mean, if we can get all into the health-care debate, or other side issues that we really can't or won't be resolved in our or any lifetime, then the enemy keeps us off target, off of God's heart to be glorified by all peoples, THAT is what we are to pour ourselves into and to be about.

Psalm 67: 1-3 says: May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you.

America is a blessed nation, way beyond what we deserve, but that blessing comes with a defining call, 'So that God's ways may be known on earth, His salvation among all nations', and no other reason.

So, as the health-care debate rages on, let's not get sidetraced by it, but let's pray that God would search our hearts, cleanse our souls, and clarify our vision of worship, worship by all peoples. Watch this amazing video, and then pray Ps. 67.

For a free eBook about how our world view and theology is all about us rather than being about God's glory among all nations, click on the cover of the book, Cat and God Theology. It is an important and timely read, especially for these days.

Monday, March 8, 2010

God's Eye View

Everything we think, do, feel and live out is based on our world view. Everything from our view of God, how we spend our money, our politics, our opinions of other cultures and people, and on and on.

So, do you think having a right world view is important? I do, but the question is, what is worldview anyway?

Wikipedia defines it as,
"the fundamental cognitive orientation of an individual or society encompassing natural philosophy, fundamental existential and normative postulates or themes, values, emotions, and ethics." My response is 'huh?'

That explanation is a bit out there and hard to understand, but regardless, it is deeply critical for Christians to have a worldview, especially a world view that is Christ centric..but how do we get there, and what does that mean. As we all continue to discover and define our worldview it is fundamentally critical and important to develop and define it through a global/missional filter.

Warren Smith, who wrote the book A Lover's Quarrel with the Evangelical Church talks about it in this video, take a look and see what you think, but whatever you do, think about and develop a world view that is counter-cultural to what most American Christians have and includes a global this.

Friday, February 5, 2010

"Why lie, I want a beer"

I can remember several times when I have seen poor and homeless people when my first thoughts are directed at diverting the reality of the need and my response as a believer. Thoughts like; ‘I wonder if they are faking it’, or, ‘I bet they are where they are because of bad decisions, it’s their own fault’, or, ‘I hope they don’t look at me’, and on and on and on.

While I wonder why many times my first responses are sometimes like this, I have a gut feeling that I am not alone. In fact, Dale Hanson Bourke, author of The Skeptic’s Guide to Global Poverty, recently wrote this in the Washington Post:

‘Stuck in an endless line of bumper-to-bumper beach traffic, my frustration turned to fear when a dirty, disheveled man walked unsteadily toward my car. Instinctively, I locked my door and averted my eyes, hoping he’d move past me. Instead he stopped beside my window and held up his hand printed sign. Feeling a bit ashamed, I glanced over at him and burst into laughter.

“Why lie? I want a beer” the crudely printed sign proclaimed.

The man’s sign summed up the skepticism many of us feel about anyone asking for a handout. I was tempted to reward his honesty, but unwilling to enable a habit that contributed to his poverty. I hesitated and he moved on, leaving me to examine the range of emotions I had experienced in less than a minute.’

So, what do we do with these realities, how as Christians who have been called to reflect Jesus to the lost, poor, disenfranchised, missed and lonely, do we actually live this out?

We can take the ‘first step’ by reading Dale’s book, The Skeptic’s Guide to Global Poverty, just click on the cover and get your free eBook NOW!