Thursday, September 29, 2011

Off to Mozambique & Swaziland

Hello friends!   In 5 short hours (yes, I need to go to bed) me and 4 other brothers (one from Germany and 3 from Masi that we just baptized) head out for a pilgrimage to Mozambique (for a week) and Swaziland (for 3 days).  We are driving in a Toyota truck and are looking forward to an amazing journey.  It is about 24 hours one way. 


The purpose: to meet the family and friends of our Mozambican brothers, to show them the change in their lives and to share with them about Jesus and his saving grace.  We plan to also gather people and teach them about God's heart for church. Then, in Swaziland, I will be teaching for a few days on church planting with an organiztion called Acts of Faith (Mennonite work in Swazi).


This is a discipleship trip/missionary journey for these young followers of Jesus.  


They are pumped!  I am pumped!


Will you pray with us?  The dirve is long, the mosqitos will be bad, the weather will be hot, the money is tight, the borders can be a massive challenge, but our GOD is able and in control!


(You can look back through this blog for many stories about these guys- John, Ernest, Shawn.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Is Pastoral Resignation the New Fad?

I tweeted this earlier today: "So many Pastors are resigning! I have lots of feelings about this. In a tweet, I think the reason is the office, not the church. Blog later."  Now, allow me to share my thoughts. 


(These are not my comprehensive thoughts on this topic.  I have way more to say, especially from my personal experience, but that still needs time.)


I am starting to wonder if Pastoral resignations are becoming the new fad? When I resigned to follow God in a new direction, I knew of NO other Pastor by name that was leaving for the same reason. Then came Francis Chan.  Man, did I feel validated.  Even though I made my move before him. ;-) Then came a few others. Then Rob Bell a few weeks ago.  Yesterday, I read about Shaun King.  Each of us having stepped out of the Pastorate to pursue something more biblical, natural, discipling, smaller, whatever, whatever.


Meanwhile, many rebels exist! Maybe some of the guys I mentioned, maybe not.  But they are out there.  The traditional church hating, organized church opposing, book and blog writing, vocal opposers of church as it's done in most of the west. In my opionion, many of them are rebellious, hurt and acting immaturely, but they also have a deep and storng heart for Chirst and his Mission.


That said, I think that in light of the increasing Pastoral resignations, people will begin to think that these guys (myself included) are mad at the church building or the people in it.  But I do not believe this is totally the case.


Though they may not have the mind to name it or the courage to admit it, I believe that the pain and frutration is not with the function of the church as much as the brokennes of the office.  The role of the Pastor (as most of us in western organized church approach it) can be:

  • Unfair to the poor guy or gal in charge of everything.  What a weight to carry! It can be so exhausting!! Trust me. Unless attendance and offering are high, then all is well that week. 
  • Unfair to the rest of the people in the church who have their Bilical status unintentionally downgraded by a system many years old.  Ministry that was supposed to be ours becomes his and theirs.
  • Unfair to Jesus.  He wanted to lead.  He wanted to have main stage.  He wanted to be the man!  So much for that idea. 
  • Unbiblical. Other than Ephesians 4, find me one place in the Bible you find the word Pastor. And I do NOT believe that what we are doing is what Ephesians 4 meant. 
  • Expensive!  Expensive for the church. Yet, if it is threatened or changed, the Pastor now has to freak out at the thought of losing his job! Let me leave it there for now.  
  • Confusing.  After what we see and read in the New Testament about preisthood of all believers, the zillion one-anothers and the mutual edification and sharing, it leaves people confused..."am I supposed to do all this stuff in the Bible or let Pastor handle it?" (after all, it's why we pay him)
  • Out of style! It may have worked in Christendom, but I am telling you now that this model/office is not gonna sustain like it has in this post-Christendom era!
  • Counter-Kingdom. The church must always be opposite and distinct from the systems of this world.  If businesses have CEOs and Governements have Preidents, the church must find the opposite essence of the Kingdom from which to function.  It must not look like anything else we see around us.  
  • And then, you have chuches like our home church who we love deeply.  Becuase of the nature of the office, and the extreme importance placed on it, an entire commuity of faith gets tossed and turned several times in a row because 1 or 2 or 3 Pastors (people) leave the equation.  Becaue they were "Pastors" it carries big pain and big implication.  Are you telling me that this is what God has in mind for His church....that they should be so centered around one man that the whole thing goes whacko when he leaves? And are you telling me that a community of believers cannot discern together and experience Christ together without "the man" in the house?  Really?  


Final thought: What I am trying to say is that I think that more blame is placed on the church than it deserves.  I think that the OFFICE of PASTOR as we hold it is the far more broken piece of the equation. And I am not saying any of this is the Pastor's fault!  Or the church's fault! Fault belongs years and years back...if anywehere. 


Final claims:

1. I know this post is going to ruffle some feathers. Send me your thoughts in the spirit of respectful dialogue and let's learn from each other. 

2. I am not saying I am totally right here or even that I am set in this thinking.  I disagree with myself about somthing every day.

3. I have been out of the Pastorate for almost a year and in that time have attempted to be very respectful of the office and sensitive to the people we lead. But it is time for me to open my heart and journey up more.

4. I do believe strongly in leadership!  I am one.  I also believe that the church needs the role of Pastor (maybe I will blog later about what I think a Pastor ACTUALLY is), Prophet, Evangelist, Teacher and Apostle...all functioning and all edifiying the body!  It is a beautiful design.  Just wished we lived into it.  God had a great idea!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Leadership; Persuasive or Hierarchical?

A friend recently shared this post with me about how leadership compares to parenting...particularly the differences between parenting small children and adult children.  The more I have reflected on it, the more I like it.  So, I wanted to share it with you here.  This is an excerpt from the blog of Jamal Jivanjee.  Credit is his!  Read this. I think you will be challenged. 


Parenting Young Children Was Easier For Me Because It Was A Picture Of The Law When I think back to the days when my daughter was a little child, parenting was much simpler and more defined. The relationship between my daughter and my wife & I back then was certainly more hierarchical to say the least. We told her when to eat, how much she had to eat before leaving the table, when to take a nap, when to go to bed, how to respond to people, and how she should respond to us as parents. There was no persuasion involved in her obeying the commands we gave her. We said it, she had to do it. If she did not obey what we told her to do, there were consequences. She learned quickly that we were in control, not her. The relationship was most definitely hierarchical.


I could never understand parents of little children who felt like they had to negotiate simple commands with their children. Children don’t have the capacity to think in complex ways and therefore need their parents to set boundaries for them and make decisions for them. When our daughter was little, we literally were in charge of most aspects of her young life. It seemed simple and easy. As our daughter grew older, we knew that would entail more freedom. That was never easy as mistakes, (both on her end as a young person and on our end as parents), were made with this new freedom. Freedom brought more choices and more potential for mistakes. Every time these things occurred, I longed for the simpler days of the past when my daughter was younger and there was simply less choices and more rules.


The older she becomes, the less that hierarchy is a part of our relationship. As my daughter approaches adult life, she is making more and more decisions on her own. A few years from now, the dynamic will change even further, especially if she gets married. As a result of this, I have realized that the way I lead my daughter must and should radically change from the way that I led her when she was a child. If the way I led her at 5, 15, and 25 stayed the same, that would be just plain weird.


If we look in the Old Testament, we can see the same thing. God’s people literally had to be told what to do in almost every aspect of life through the Law. This was to show them the character and nature of God’s holiness, and it was also meant to protect them as well. When my daughter was young, she needed a lot of external guidance to help her make the right choices. Now that she is older, she must rely on an internal guidance to guide her decision making process. Does my adult daughter still need leadership in her life? Absolutely. I still believe that I need to have a leadership role in her adult life, but this role will be more as a persuasive leader than a hierarchical one.


This brings me to my second point: Parenting Adults Is Harder For The Same Reason That Church Leadership Is Non-Hierarchical


Most parents with adult children that I have talked to have found out (the easy way or the hard way) that it takes more than an appeal to hierarchy to lead them. Don’t believe me? Try telling your 25 year old son or daughter that he or she cannot get up from the dinner table until they eat all of their lima beans. If they try to defy your command, tell them you are their parent, and the Bible says children are supposed to obey their parents. (That is an appeal to hierarchy) Let me know how that works out for you.


Obviously, that is a ridiculous example, but you get the point. At this point in their lives, you want them to be governed by something internal. This is a picture of life in the kingdom. Before Pentecost, the people of God were not grafted into His Son. They had to be governed by an external law. After God’s people were grafted into the Son at Pentecost, they were now governed by the indwelling Spirit of Christ. According to Galatians 5:18, those who operate by this indwelling Spirit cannot operate under the law. When we are governed by the Spirit of Christ and of life, we no longer need to be governed by the law of sin and death.


As I mentioned, this greatly affects leadership in the kingdom of God. We can see this radical shift from Law based leadership to kingdom based leadership in Jesus’ own statement about kingdom leadership: But do not be called Rabbi; for one is your teacher, and you are all brothers…Do not be called leaders, for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. (Matthew 23:8, 10)


This was a profoundly radical teaching on leadership in Jesus’ day, and it is still radical. This goes against the world’s system of leadership, and that includes the world’s religious system of leadership as well. Notice the reason behind the new understanding of leadership. It is because ‘ALL’ are brothers, and there is only one leader who stands as head over them. That is Christ. This removes the possibility of human hierarchy. (I told you it was a radical teaching by Jesus)


Although Jesus’ teaching about kingdom leadership should be the grid and filter through which we understand all the other passages in the New Testament regarding church leadership, this has unfortunately not been the case. I speak from experience as a Bible college graduate and as a former institutional Pastor. What I was taught completely ignored & contradicted the heart and spirit behind Jesus’ teaching on kingdom leadership in Matthew 23:8-12. Instead, I was taught to emphasize passages of scripture that seemed to suggest hierarchical church leadership in the absence of the framework that Jesus laid down in Matthew 23:8-12.


While I could give you numerous examples of this, for the sake of brevity, let me just focus on one verse that is regularly taken out of context in order to promote a false view of hierarchical church leadership. As an institutional Pastor, I regularly used this verse incorrectly to appeal back to hierarchy. The verse is Hebrews 13:17: Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.


When taken as a stand alone verse, this verse does seem to imply a hierarchical form of church leadership. If we keep in mind what Jesus taught in Matthew 23, however, there has to be another explanation. If we’ll look at this passage from Hebrews closer, we’ll see that this verse is not hierarchical at all. As a matter of fact, it is just the opposite! Let me explain.


There are a couple of Greek words that can be translated as ‘obey’ in the New Testament. The most common Greek word for ‘obey’ is the word (‘Hupakouo’) and signifies a hierarchical and authoritative understanding of obedience. That, however, is NOT the Greek word that is used in Hebrews 13:17 for ‘obey’! Are you surprised? The Greek word that is used for ‘obey’ is actually the word (‘Peitho’) which literally means ‘to persuade’ or ‘to win over’. The Greek word for ‘submit’ is the word (‘Hupeiko) which means to ‘yield’. Greek scholar W.E. Vine says this about Hebrews 13:17: The obedience suggested is not by submission to authority, but resulting from persuasion.


That changes things a bit doesn’t it? Can you imagine a military commander trying to ‘persuade’ the troops under his command? Can you imagine a parent trying to ‘persuade’ their child not to run out into heavy traffic? It wouldn’t work very well.


Persuasive leadership, however, is exactly the kind of leadership that is suitable for my adult daughter now, and is the kind of leadership that only works within the church. I would like to say that just because we are governed by the indwelling Spirit of Christ, this does not mean that we do not need to receive leadership. For example, my adult daughter still needs leadership in her life. It simply means that this leadership is persuasive in nature, and ultimately she is in control of her choices. I cannot mandate her obedience based on hierarchy anymore. Trust me, that would be much simpler, but ultimately this would not be good for her. This is also true in church life as well.


We are commanded to be a people that allows our leaders to persuade us, and as leaders, we would do well to appeal to persuasion rather than hierarchy. If you study the cults, they usually have leaders that demand obedience based on position or rank, certainly not persuasion. Honestly, this sounds a lot like how the world’s religious system operates as well.


As a dad, In some ways, I am finding it harder to parent my daughter now that she is older. There are things I desperately want to show her, and ways that I want to direct her that have to do with her well being. She has to desire that guidance, however. It cannot be forced. I have found that it is only when people recognize that they have issues, that they begin to look for help with those issues.


It is only when people, or church communities, are willing to recognize that they have issues and need help with those issues that they are willing to be persuaded by leadership. Until then, it can be a painful waiting game. Sometimes people and groups become more open to being persuaded by leadership when they get desperate. Many times it is hardship, failure, and brokenness that eventually lead to desperation and openness to being led. As a parent, or as one who loves the church, that can be painful to watch.


There are many more passages in the New Testament (like Hebrews 13:17) that need to be re-examined from outside of an institutional hierarchical filter. A great resource that throughly examines biblical passages about church leadership, as well as many other related issues, is a book called ‘Reimagining Church’ by Frank Viola. I highly recommend it. If you’d like to look into these things a bit further, please purchase a copy of that book. Click here to purchase a copy of this book online. This bring me to my third and final point:


Most ‘Institutional’ Church Leadership Is Designed To Control The Masses, But True Biblical Leadership Is Designed To Persuade The Few ‘More is better’ in the world’s way of looking at things.


If you look at the way Jesus did things, however, the opposite seems to be true. As soon as Jesus obtained a large following, He seemed to say or do something that drove the masses away. For example, when someone came to Him telling Him they would follow Him anywhere, He seemed to not make it easy by telling them that He was homeless. Jesus was always weeding out people.


Jesus did not lead the masses, and the masses were fickle. They turned on Him pretty quickly. Jesus seemed to focus on the hungry few however. He shepherded those in the community that served and followed Him. Jesus was the ultimate shepherd (pastor). Do you know what the basis of this pastor / sheep relationship was? It was an intimate knowing of one another. In John 10:14, Jesus says: I Am the good shepherd, and I know My own, and My own know Me This is beautiful. This was not just a theoretical quote by Jesus. He really did know the sheep He was shepherding. The ‘knowing’ of one another is key. Shepherding is a component of the life of Christ that is demonstrated in the body of Christ, and it will come about because of a relational knowledge of one another.


I am always amazed when I talk to people at large Mega Church institutions that refer to the man who preaches to them behind the pulpit weekly as their ‘Pastor’. Sometimes I ask them if they know the person personally. Nine times out of ten, the answer is “No, not really”. Most institutional ‘Pastors’ are busy people. Most have never shared a meal with their ‘Pastor’. Most have not spent a significant amount of time with them. There is simply no personal relationship there. It is all formal. When I ask them: “On what basis is that guy who stands behind the pulpit week in and week out your pastor?” I usually get a response that goes back to title, not relationship like Jesus demonstrated and taught in John 10:14.


I could say much more about all of that, but you get the point. If you want to control a large group of people, you simply teach people to submit to titles, offices, and positions. This is what governments do, this is what employers do, and this is what the institutional church system does as well. In the kingdom, however, it is much different.


Jesus appeals to His relational knowledge of us, and us of Him. In the church that Jesus envisioned, and in the case of my soon to be 18 year old daughter, true leadership will have to depend on something much more profound than title or hierarchy, however. Just some food for thought.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Free Coaching

For many of us, it is hard to be confronted.  It is hard for someone to tell you where you messed up, missed the mark or dropped the ball. It does not feel good to realize you were wrong. But the truth is that we all have things worng with our character.  And sometimes, people care enough about us to risk telling us.  Then, when they do, you have some important choices to make.


How will you react to the correction?  How defensive will you become?  Will you really listen? Will you really change anything?


Often, we get defensive and reactive.  Well, today, a friend of mine (who wishes to get his credit in heaven and not on my blog), shared something with me that I thought was profound.  He said:


When someone points out a flaw in your character, you should look at it like free coaching.  People pay lots of money for coaches, consultants and counselors that tell them what is wrong with them and how to fix it.  How much more valuable is the FREE gift of coaching from people who actually know you!  What a great gift!  Maybe if we would view correction into our lives as a GIFT of free coaching, we would become less reactive and more thankful and humble.


Just a thought...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mozambique Trip Threatened


Let me cut to the chase with the short version:


There is a very special trip coming up next week with local guys we work with...the trip is being threatened because of finance and could be saved if I can find a few people who can give a few hundred bucks!


Full Version: 


If you have been following our ministry here in ZA, you are aware that I have been working with a new church plant for about 6 months, made up of men from Mozambique. You can find a number of posts and videos about them on my blog.  A few weeks ago, we baptized 6 of the guys!  Read about that here. 


For the last few months we have been planning an expidition back to their home country of Mozambique for a missionary journey/ discipleship trip. Never done anything like this, but we really believe it was led of the Lord to go.  It is a response to their faith, early in their faith journey. The guys want to go back to their families and friends and tell them all about what Jesus has done in their lives. I belive that we will see some impacted lives and salvations on this trip!  We also hope to gather people in groups and may end up doing some teaching about simple church planting....with the guys as real life examples of what it produces. 


We were scheduled to leave on Friday September 30th. The plan is for 5 of us to drive there (Noah, Viktor, Shawn, Ernest and John). It will take two days to get there.  All of the guys have come up with money--as much as they can, but they are short.  We need more money to cover the expenses of the trip (food and transport).  We met tonight, discerned together and decided to look to the Lord for provision and make the decision in a few days as to whether we wil still go or cancel the trip.


If I can find 3-5 people that could give a couple hundred bucks, we can go!  To these guys, that seems impossible.  They make about $15 a day. To someone reading this now, it may be extremely possible.  


If you can help, just shoot me an email or let me know however you'd like.  I'm easy to reach.


I you cannot help, would you just pray that we'd somehow get the money to go? 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Meserete Kristos Church. Only God.

As you may know, Tricia and I are sent through Eastern Mennonite Missions (EMM) in PA, USA to serve with All Nations in Cape Town, South Africa. EMM has rich missions history dating back to the early 1900s. We came to All Nations with the hope of linking the to organizations together into richer Kingdom collaboration--relational and organizational networking leading to partnership in mission. This is the first such opportunity. (There is an initiative that I am partnering into called Project Engage.  I will be telling you more about Project Engage soon.  But, know that this trip is conencted to this as well.)


There is a very large Mennonite Church in Ethiopia called Meserete Kristos Church (MKC). EMM planted it 60 years ago (and turned it over to local leadership 10 years later). I have heard about the church and met some of the leaders over the last years. This is a massive and impressive church with a story that only God could have authored.


Brief MKC History: Planted 60 years ago by Mennonite Missionaries, Meserete Kristos Church (meaning "Church founded on Christ" in Amharic) is a church that has experienced major growth under major persecution. In 1971, a Marxist/Communist government forcefully came into power Ethiopia ("Derg"). The corrupt government tool all money and property from MKC and arrested many of their leaders. As a result, MKC went underground with about 5,000 members and 12 churches. At this point the congregations divided into cell groups/ Home churches. They were underground for almost 10 years. In that 10 years, God multiplied 10 fold and when they came above ground in 80s they were 50,000 people!! Due to cell life, real disciples emerged and people started knowing God personally and obeying him radically.


Today, this church has:

  • 401,100 members
  • 636 churches
  • 856 church planting centers
  • 27 Regional Lead teams
  • They are sending people out (Ethiopians) in mission like a machine (nationally and internationally).
  • And they are the largest Mennonite church in the world making up about a quarter of Mennonites worldwide (if I am reading the book accurately). 


What is further fascinating is that it is 100% Ethiopian led! No white leader works in the office or makes the decisions. This is a fairly unusual situation for Africa.


When I arrived the other day and met with the head leader of MKC, he gave me a gift-- a book tracing the history of the church. I hung on each word of the 280 pages and completed it an hour ago. Great story!! (Picture above.) There is nothing like reading this book ON THIS SOIL!! Where it all happened. Awesome!




Would you pray with us?


On this trip, I have met with their leaders about UUPG possibilities and gathered info that they are aware of. They are not only ready to assist in engagement of 2 people groups but, but have also helped me to see the massive potential on Ethiopia for reaching North Africa and the Middle East. Ethiopia has been defined as a Christian island in a Muslim Ocean (though there are still 34 of the 82 ethnic groups in Ethiopia unreached)!


Some exciting things are stirring for the future.  My heart is full. Pray for EMM, All Nations and MKC as we discern possible kingdom collaboration and synergistic undertakings led of the Lord. We need wisdom, ears attuned to the Spirit and the courage to obey.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I Finally Believe!

Here are some realities that I really hope you read and read again while listening to God:

  • Almost 7 billion people are on earth today.
  • Almost 3 billion do not know about Jesus yet!
  • There are 6,890 unreached people groups (less the 2% Christian) on earth today.
  • There are 1,015 unengaged people groups (no gospel presence and no one working there) on earth today.

(Interested in knowing more about this stuff, visit and Note that some of their data is wrong in both directions, but it is close.)

Today I visited one of the unreached people groups (Silte) and discussed serious possibilities for (All Nations) adoption and engagement with an unengaged one (Argobba).

MKC Mission Director, Yemiru Tilahun (amazing Brother) personally drove me 3 hours outside of Addis Ababa to this unreached people group (Silte)! And something clicked in me. I have heard the stats above! I've read the books.  I just did not really believe them. I mean, I did, but I needed to see one and touch one--it is just how I am wired. Today it happened. I have waited years for this.

I finally believe! 

There is a lot going on in my heart tonight as I try to make sense of it all. I have more questions than I do answers, but I am sure of one thing...I want to give my life for this!!  

Paul says something that makes my heart leap in Romans 15:20-21. Look at this:

It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. Rather, as it is written: “Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.


Do you realize that YOU could be a part of this? YOU reading this right now can help engage and reach one of these groups. There are a number of ways ranging from a prayer to packing it all up and moving here. Yes, you! Wanna give your life to something that changes earth and eternity?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Off to Ethiopia

Tomorrow morning, I fly to Ethiopia.  I will share what I can with you.  I'm thinking that the best way to expalin it here is in short phrases and adjectives, becuase the story is so neat that I would end up wirting too much when I really need to head to bed.


So, here goes.  


This trip is...

  • God-inspired
  • God-ordained
  • God-funded
  • Holy Spirit- confirmed 
  • All Nations supported
  • EMM supported
  • MKC hosted 
  • Exploratory - Spying the land
  • Kingdom Collaberative
  • Energy producing
  • Life giving
  • Loaded with possibilty
  • Last minute, yet somehow well planned
  • Extremely exciting 
  • Preparatory for something coming soon
  • Prophecy fulflling 
  • In perfect timing 
  • Symoblic 
  • And an answer to specific prayers


Main Purpose: So that people that do not yet know about Dad's love will experience him.


Would you back this in prayer? Although I am going alone, I am at peace and excited to connected with other followers there. 


(I will post more if and when I can.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

This is discipling!

I really, really appreciate the heart in this video.

Getting Things Twisted

It seems that I can be so good at getting things twisted.  And I don't mean too.  I don't think it's on purpose.  But it happenes, nonetheless.  And then it gets revealed.  Like this morning.  I was listening to a friend at All Nations teach about the radical love that Jesus has for us as his "Bride".  As he was teaching, he said something like this:

If we would just find our identity and satisfaction in JESUS and what he has already done for us out of His love, we will not need to find our identity and satisfaction in the the big things that we do for Jesus. In this case, we will end up doing even bigger things for God than had we set out to do big things. 

Then I was reminded again of John 15 (posted about it here and here).  We must not focus on and put our trust in the branches, but rather we must place our hope for life in the vine.  Clearly, without the vine, the branch is dead.  Apart for Jesus, I can do nothing!  Seems clear to me.  Look, I know this stuff is easier said than done, but I thnk that it is all a part for the journey toward humilty.  The journey of getting ourselves out of the center (which I wrote about last week here)

May you find grace as you strive to get your eyes off yourself and onto Jesus, the true vine!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mas-ambican Baptisms!

Today was the greatest highlight of my time in Africa up to this point! No doubt!  After 6 months of rich discipleship with 6 guys in Masi from Mozambique, they baptized each other this morning!  It was SUCH an encouragement! These were no forced baptisms where they were'nt really ready, but we needed to get them under for the sake of the numbers.  Nor were these guys getting dunked with no idea what it all meant. No.  The Holy Spirit brought them to the place of curiosity and studying what the Word of God says about baptism brought them to a place or desire and readiness.  Some of them were actually upset at us for not telling them about this earlier. 


After studying Romans 6 about 3 weeks ago, they came to a place where one of them yelled out, "I'M READY TO DIE!"  Well today they were "buried with Christ through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, they too may have new life." (Romans 6:4)


Will you thank God with us? And please pray for:

  • John 
  • Shawn
  • Ernest
  • Vusi
  • Nando
  • David


On September 30, I will leave for a trip with Viktor (a friend and co-worker from Germany), John, Ernest and Shawn to drive to Mozambique where we will share Jesus with ther families and friends and teach about simple church planting.  After that we will head together into Swaziland for more church planting teaching with an MCC ministry there. This is a discipleship or missionary journey of sorts and our hearts are full of anticipation!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A New Kind of Sinner's Prayer

Today I was in a DBS (Discovery Bible Study-- CLICK HERE to read about them) with some guys who do not really walk with God yet in any way.  They were telling us that they do not know how to pray at all and that they would feel really uncomfortable to try to do so in front of anyone. Then, they asked a few really good questions about prayer. My friend and partner, Viktor, talked to the guys about how prayer is really just honest conversation with God


Then something came over me and I just started mdeling a prayer for them that illustrated what we meant.  It was a "Sinner's Prayer" like I have never prayed before. It went something like this:

Hi God, I feel like a real idiot talking to you right now. It feels incredibly awkward to be speaking to someone I cannot see or touch.  If I did this in any other instance, my friends would wonder what the hell is wrong with me. But God, I want to learn about this prayer thing so I am trying to start somewhere.  Help me learn to talk to you like this without feeling weird about it like I do right now. My life is really, really shitty and I am sorry because I know a lot of it is my fault. I have this feeling that you are trying to get my attention or something. So, I am gonna try to listen to you and what you are trying to say. I am even willing to attempt to do what you ask me to do, but I will need a load of help from you. Thanks. Bye.


If you are churched, you're probably really polished so you cannot handle a prayer like this. It is just too "disrespectful" to your diety and too unholy for you.  But for the guys I am working with (and most of the people you saw at the grocery store today), this is about what they can do. Think about it. 


My point? Let's teach people to talk honestly to God!  Say what you think, feel, need, desire, regret, etc....and say it honestly.  Let's take the "often-fake-repeat-after-me" prayers and replace them with honest conversations with God.



Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Confession About My Pride

Feeling the need for some honest confession recently. Some I'm sharing privately. Some publicly.   


Here is my thinking....if I share honestly and openly about my own shortcomings, two things are likely to happen:

1. I get to live more in the light and the freedom of Christ. Secrets bind, honesty frees! 

2. And someone else may just realize that they need to make the same confession so they too can live in the light. 


My confesison: Over the years, the pride (and insecurities...which is also pride) in my heart has caused me to place myself at the center of too many things.  Things that I do not belong at the center of. And I see it now and I am ready to change. 


What do I mean?


  • The church board opposes an idea I bring.  They must have a problem with me, then.  Taking it personally, I place myself at the center of something that was not about me.
  • Attendance is not good.  I am the leader.  Must be my fault, so I put myself at the center and take responsibilty for something that is up to the Lord.  
  • I sense that you are acting different toward me and our relationship does not feel the same. Then, I conclude that I must have done something wrong and you are upset at me.  There I am, putting myself in the center of something that has nothing to do with me. Turns out that you are going through something that has absolutely nothing to do with me.
  • I get asked to do something (something the church, even).  I wrorry about what people will think about me if I do it or don't do it.  What I was asked to do was simple and not about me!  But, there I go putting myself right in the center of it.
  • I helped someone in there faith journey.  Now they have fallen backwards.  I take responibilty, putting myself at the center of their faith pilgrimage when their choices have nothing to do with me.


I could keep going and going.  It is pride.  I have done it more times that I know of! I do not want this to remain in my life.  I am feeling that the Lord wants to heal and change this. I want JESUS to be the center and I want to stop thinking more highly or myself than I ought to. 


Would you pray for me about this?


And would you be brave enough to look at your heart and see if maybe you need some similar confession and healing? 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Church Planting Opportunity

So, who is coming to join us in Cape Town?  This is a question I have been asking the Lord over the last month.  More specifically, who do we know that has the potential and heart of a church planter that GOD wants to call to join us in Cape Town for a 6 months Church Planting Experience here at All Nations?  


As you probably know, Tricia and I completed CPx (Church Planting Experience) from February through June of this year.  It was a life shaping experience for us!  You can read the most powerful things I learned by CLICKING HERE! 


This coming Febrauary, it starts again. People with a heart for the Lord and the church come together and prepare to go impact the Nations. And I am wondering who we know that the Lord might be preparing to come? I am excited that I will be joing the teaching team for CPx next year and serve as one of the contributors.  Hope that does not stop you from coming. ;-) 


  • Want your life forever changed and your heart for the nations pumped full?
  • Want to join a thriving community of believers preparing to radically follow God?
  • Want to spend 6 months in one of the most beautiful places on earth?
  • Want to have your understanding of church deepened and changed?
  • Want to pack up and leave it all to follow God into a new direction? 
  • Want to be strecthed like never before? 
  • Want to join a movement of people longing to see the Glory of God and the Gospel of Christ go out to the nations?


Then, Here is the link to the All Nations website telling all about CPx and directing you to the registration forms.  CLICK HERE and join us in 2012!


May Jesus lead you!