Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Unity also flows from listening

The last few days I've been talking about this principle: mission flows from listening.

My new friend here in Denver, Phil Koneman, sent me the following email that articulates a related principle: unity also flows from listening to God's voice. And, this unity, according to Jesus, is key to reaching the lost. It's in our CO2s that we first get to practice this principle.

Phil wrote...

"(Here's) a quote that applies to CO2 and seeking a corporate unity in hearing God’s voice so that we may reach the nations:

“The loss of intimacy with God invariably leads to the loss of unity among believers. Unity rests on the foundation of hearing God’s voice and following His present priorities for our lives. Jesus prayed for the unity of believers so that the world would know that the Father sent Jesus and loves the church (John 17:23). Without unity the church will never have credibility in the world or have power to fulfill its ministry.” Jack Deere, Surprised by the Power of the Holy Spirit, p. 152.

What strikes me about this quote is the necessity of hearing God’s voice and following His leading to the unity of the church – CO2 is the most fundamental expression of unity!"

Thanks, Phil!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Barth Hotel (2)

Mission flows from listening (not strategic planning). See Jn. 5:19.

Hugh and Shawn checked with the manager of the Barth Hotel (see picture) and got a list of the needs of the residents. Then, they sent an email to the Denver Network letting them know what the Lord had directed them to do. They invited the people in the Network to ask the Lord if they were to join in. Here are some of the responses they received...

Hello Hugh: We will join you (me and my wife, Tanya) in blessing the residents at the Barth Hotel on Tuesday, December 29. We can bring socks, hot cocoa, hot cider, juice, or cookies. As we get closer to the event and you hear from others, let us know what to bring. In the meantime I’ll be on the lookout for tube socks – and I’ll begin baking cookies as well. -Phil

I am going to be out of town but I will pray for you all, and those you meet...Hugh, your obedience shows your love for the Lord..."I am proud of my son"~God -Brittani

Cool, it looks like a lot of things are getting taken already. We will bake 6 - 8 dozen cookies for the evening. Count my 78 year old mom in. Also we have one Domino game, Jan, Tina and Kalia

My church purchased 60 pairs of tube socks yesterday. If others have already purchased socks, then we can return some of them and get other items that are needed. Kara and I can also supply a CD player with a large mix of Christmas songs. I have approximately 90 Christmas songs that I can burn to a CD to make it easier than needing to switch CDs frequently. May we be humble vessels for the Lord, Nick

Natural, organic, spontaneous, unexhorted.

The new paradigm.


Monday, December 28, 2009

The Barth Hotel (1)

Mission flows from listening (not strategic planning). See Jn. 5:19.

Watch this progression...

1. Hugh Brandt heard the Lord direct him to do something to express love to the residents of the Barth Hotel in downtown Denver over the Christmas season. (This is an assisted living facility for senior citizens.)

2. Hugh shared this with one of his CO2 partners, Shawn Taylor. As they listened together, Shawn agreed that this was from the Lord. The manager of the Hotel was thrilled about their desire and suggested they could bring as many as 15 people and that December 29th would be a good day.

3. Hugh sent this email to the Denver Network: House Church Friends, After taking time to listen to the Lord, Shawn Taylor and I have organized an outreach event on Tuesday December 29th at 6pm for approximately 2 hours for about 15 of us. We have the opportunity to love and serve the residents of the Barth Hotel located in Lower Downtown. The Barth Hotel is an assisted living residence for approximately 20 women and 40 men all of whom are poor.

I'll share with you tomorrow some of the responses Hugh received.

The vision? We picture the day when there will be hundreds (thousands?) of "churches of two" listening to the Lord and moving out in mission as He directs.

Sometimes with two people.

Sometimes with fifteen.

Sometimes with thousands.

This is the new (old) paradigm of mission.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kent Smith (4): Tools

What are some tools that can help people better understand and engage the vibrant community life we have been considering?

Let me suggest three:

· Keep reading—and engaging with—"Stories From the Revolution". With your help we’ll continue to work to make this blog a steady source of practical and encouraging interaction with the growing community of people on this journey. I find it really helpful to have Feedblitz send me every new post. You can do the same by signing up in the right hand column here (on the site).

· Read Centered, the ebook I wrote with some friends as a brief introduction to this vibrant life. You can now get it in either the Kindle or DNL format here:

· Explore the resources at: We’ll continue to populate this site with great tools to help practitioners.

What if you feel called to join the Peace Bearers (ie, church planters) in bringing the Kingdom news to new pockets of people?

· Join A community of practice for church planters. Connect with over 500 people from around the world who are actively exploring life on mission with God. Discover people from your area who are on a similar journey.

· Consider apprenticing with a community-of-faith-in-training. This could be informal with people in your city or region who are already on this journey. For some a great option is to consider formal training, such as the program I direct at Abilene Christian University leading to a master’s degree in missions or ministry.

These are amazing days. What is possible now has never been so before. But as always, in the midst of this, God is at work to form his Bride and to establish his Kingdom among all peoples. And we have been invited to join him—each of us uniquely—in this great mission.

As you think about our mission and what tools are available either through our community or others, what needs to be done better? What else do you think would be helpful?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Kent Smith (3): Conditions for Community Formation

What conditions are needed for vibrant families of Jesus to form? This is a big question—but a great place to look for answers is to notice what Jesus actually did and taught. Two factors he seemed to think were important are:

· People of Peace: God-prepared individuals and communities who are ready to receive the life of God. This just makes sense when you think about it. God initiates, God invites his Bride. No kidding—He will build His church. No kidding—apart from Him we can do nothing. When we go casting about for other options we are wasting time and effort.

· Kingdom Carriers, Peace Bearers: Little communities (especially pairs), who carry the vision, message, power and life of the Kingdom as they listen to and follow the King into his work.

This is what Jesus did. This is what he taught his disciples to do. And this was standard practice in life of the early church as vibrant (and flawed!) families of Jesus permeated the Roman Empire (see the map).

So—what do you think about this? In the final post in this series, I’ll suggest some tools that can help people wanting to better engage this life. For now, I’m wondering if these conditions seem as important/possible today as they did two millennia ago? Are there more important factors for multiplied, vibrant families of Jesus in our time?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Kent Smith (2): Distributed Divine Energy

So, just what is a vibrant family of Jesus? I’d say: a communion of people whose lifestyles are so centered in God that each person is discovering and revealing God’s unique grace through their life. The result of all these grace-gifts working together is that the whole community is a beautiful embodiment of the life of Jesus in that place. Sure enough—the body of Christ, God with skin on.

Essential to this understanding is the unique and vital role every person in the community plays in forming vibrant families of Jesus. To borrow Paul’s language,

“From Christ the whole body is joined and held together . . . by means of the distributed divine energy of every single growing part of the body working to build up his body in love.” (Eph. 4:16)

I suspect many Christians have grown jaded, deeply doubtful that this can actually happen. But rather than give up on God’s dream wouldn’t a more realistic step be to reconsider the conditions under which such communities might form?

Here we are reminded again: if we think Jesus is God, we have to believe he is smart. I don’t suppose we’re going to find a better grasp on how this all works than what he actually did and showed his disciples to do. Luke 10 illustrates this beautifully.

In our next post, I’ll explore a bit of what those conditions are. But for now, what do you think? Is God’s dream a pipe dream? Is such a community even possible on earth? Have you ever seen the church actually functioning as a vibrant family of Jesus over time?

(JW: This is such an amazing concept! I've looked for a picture to help us visualize it but without success. If you've got a good one, send it to me and I'll add it to this post.)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Kent Smith (1): Incarnations of God

From Kent Smith:

Key Question: What would it take to see a vibrant family of Jesus in close reach—culturally and geographically—of every person on the planet?

Why is this question key? Because it can focus our attention on what has God’s attention: a Bride who, in her many-splendored beauty, is made up of representatives of all the peoples—every tongue, tribe and nation. This Bride alone has the capacity to reveal the fullness of God’s multifaceted wisdom, and to share intimate communion with God now and through the ages of eternity.

For this to happen, incarnations of God—communities that reveal Jesus with skin on—must come near in every people group on earth. Vibrant families of Jesus must spring up everywhere.

So, exactly what are these vibrant families of Jesus? In our next post I’ll unpack that idea some. Meanwhile, what do you think? Is this key question really key? From your perspective, why or why not?

Friday, December 18, 2009

A man who encourages me

Over the next few days, I going to send out a four short posts by Dr. Kent Smith. These posts are designed to help us think deeply about this idea of church as "a vibrant family of Jesus". But, today I want to tell you why Kent encourages me.

He encourages me because he is doing deep thinking and writing about the nature of church. You see, this house church "thing" is not just another new program or gimmick or fad. Rather, it represents a fundamental paradigm shift with deep theological roots. And, Kent, is one of the foremost thinkers in this area. He is a seminary professor. See And, he leads the most effective graduate level training program for church planters that I know of. See

But, more than all of that, Kent is a good friend. We connect every week on the phone and do SASHET together. We share our lives and pray together. So, I know that the things he writes about are not just theory for Kent. This is what he believes and what he lives.

So, take a close look at his posts over the next few days. Ask questions. Make comments. Jump in.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

John Eldredge on Listening for His Voice

John Eldredge has been a great help to me in learning to hear God's voice. Below is a quote from Wild at Heart. He goes into greater depth on the subject in Walking with God. -John

Revelation: Listening for His Voice 12/17/2009

"I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth." (John 16:12–13)

There’s more that Jesus wants to say to you, much more, and now that his Spirit resides in your heart, the conversation can continue. Many good people never hear God speak to them personally for the simple fact that they’ve never been told that he does. But he does—generously, intimately. “He who belongs to God hears what God says” (John 8:47).

The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice . . . I am the good shepherd. (John 10:2–4, 11)

You don’t just leave sheep to find their way in the world. They are famous for getting lost, being attacked by wild animals, falling into some pit, and that is why they must stay close to the shepherd, follow his voice. And no shepherd could be called good unless he personally guided his flock through danger. But that is precisely what he promises to do. He wants to speak to you; he wants to lead you to good pasture. Now, it doesn’t happen in an instant. Walking with God is a way of life. It’s something to be learned; our ability to hear God’s voice and discern his word to us grows over time. As Brother Lawrence said it, we “practice the presence of God.”

(Waking the Dead , 102–3)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

CO2's spread to South Asia

Hugh Brandt and Desi Starr tell the amazing story of how the "church of two" concept has spread to Christian leaders in S. Asia.  (Names and locations are not mentioned for security reasons.)  

Monday, December 14, 2009

Five year old Emma hears God's voice

Desi and Rose Starr have been teaching their four young children how to hear God's voice.  Watch this short video for Desi's story of what they are doing and what Emma heard.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I loved this story from Brittani Flory in Denver, CO. Notice that she found a word that exactly described where her heart was and then used that as a starting place for conversation with her Papa.


"The other day when I was checking in with God I was struggling to identify where I was at emotionally. I heard God say, “Get your feelings sheet” ( I have a sheet of several ‘feeling’ words that I use to broaden my feeling vocab and enrich my awareness). I thought to myself, “but God its all the way over there” (aprox 10 feet away on the couch).

I then realized how lazy this was and on the few steps to retrieve the sheet I shared my thoughts with God; “God, there are so many words on this sheet how am I going to know which one?” I heard God say, “trust me”. I sat down and just sort of let my eyes meander the sheet and they quickly came across the word “milquetoast” (I’ve used this sheet several times and have never even noticed this word)

milque·toast (mĭlk'tōst') n. One who has a meek, timid, unassertive nature.

Before I even looked up the definition I just pictured milk-toast. I have never used this word to describe my feelings nor have I even heard of it ( I don’t think I’ve ever used ‘nor’ either! But it works!). It was exactly how I was feeling! What I heard from God when I discovered this word was, “That’s it!” From that point on we were able to dialogue about this milquetoast feeling I was having, where it came from, what triggered it, and how it was transformed into a way to describe my heart (which is partly wanting to live a passionate life with God—very opposite of milquetoast).

This was so helpful! I’ve since asked for God’s help to identify emotions and He has both brought words to mind and asked me to walk 10ft. to the couch to get my feelings sheet…its been worth the trip every time."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

CO2s and City Transformation

The house church leaders in Denver meet together each month. We have two goals when we gather - connecting with each other on a heart level and hearing what God wants to say to us.

At our last meeting on 11/13/09, after dinner our group of 25 broke up into smaller groups and did SASHET. Then, we spend time alone listening (ie, VIRKLER) to God about this questions: "What do you want to say to us about Denver?" After about twenty minutes, we shared what we had heard in our smaller groups and then with the whole group. Out of this corporate listening time emerged a very encouraging prophetic message which you can read here:

The point? The two basic disciplines of SASHET and VIRKLER are effective tools with two people (CO2), with a small group (house church) and with a city-wide group.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Teaching high school wrestlers to hear God's voice

"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened..." Eph. 1:18

Once Coach Lowden understood how to "fix his eyes on Jesus", he began teaching the members of his wrestling team how to do it. Here's their story.

Your thoughts?

Monday, November 30, 2009

CO2 and making disciples (4)

The fourth reason that a CO2 is an excellent tool for making disciples is that it is so simple. In this way, it's like baseball.

Baseball is both simple and profound. It is simple enough that five year olds can enjoy playing T-ball on their first day. Yet, it is so profound that grown men (and women) can devote their entire lives to mastering its subtleties.

A CO2 is very simple and easy to explain.

CO2 = 2 people + SASHET + VIRKLER + DAILY.

You don't need a workbook or a conference or a twelve week course to get started. Just start. In ten minutes, a person can understand it well enough to begin to practice it successfully. On the other hand, a CO2 can be the starting point for deep and profound transformation.

And, as Neil Cole has said, only that which is simple can multiply rapidly. Think of CO2 as a benevolent Kingdom virus that could spread throughout your whole city.

Who will you "infect" today?


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

CO2 and making disciples (3)

I can still remember my 11th grade Sunday School teacher, Paul Kokulis. It was 45 years ago and I was an awkward, shy teenager. But, Paul (we called him "the golden Greek") treated me as though I was important. I don't remember any of our Sunday School lessons but I sure remember the godly, caring life that he modeled.

This is one of the most powerful ways that God shapes us as disciples - through those godly men and women that he puts in our lives to show us what it looks like to walk with God. Those examples. Those models.

A "church of two" creates an ideal environment where this kind of modeling can naturally take place.
  • When I share my SASHET with my partner, he gets to see me when I am happy-excited- tender but also when I am sad-angry-scared. He gets to see a Christian who doesn't have it all together and who is on the journey.
  • When my partner shares his SASHET with me, I get to rejoice with him when he is rejoicing and weep with him when he is weeping. We learn to be honest and transparent together before the Lord.
  • When I share what I've heard from the Lord (VIRKLER) and what I'm writing in my journal with my partner, he gets to hear what God sounds like to me. I ask him to help me weigh what I'm hearing and to be gently curious about what I've written.
  • When my partner shares what he is hearing from the Lord (VIRKLER), I get to join him at the growing edges of his life, the places where God is speaking to him.

So, CO2s are a powerful context for making disciples because they are daily and because they focus on knowing God (not just knowing about Him). They are also powerful because they create an environment where disciples get to see a first hand model of what it means to walk with Jesus in an honest, transparent way.

Paul (not Kokulis): "Whatever you have... seen in me - put it into practice." Phil. 4:9


PS. I Googled Paul Kokulis and the picture above is a contemporary one that I found (he had darker hair back in the day!). I haven't talked to him in years but maybe I'll send him a link to this post.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

CO2 and making disciples (2)

Over the years, I've been in (and led) dozens of classes on disciplemaking. Almost all were designed to teach people to know about God.

  • Here's your Discipleship Notebook...
  • Read these passages of Scripture
  • Memorize these verses
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Complete these assignments
  • Pray this prayer

A "church of two" is different.

It's designed to teach people to know God. To have an intimate, conversational relationship with Him. It's very simple really. Day in and day out it goes like this... "Here's what the Lord is saying to me today. What's He saying to you?" Disciples of Jesus learn to listen by listening (and obeying) ... day after day. Everything else flows from that... study... worship... family... mission... everything.

As disciples, this (listening) is what we do. And, when we disciple someone else, this is what we teach them to do.

Jesus: "My sheep are continually listening (present tense) to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." -John 10:27

What have you learned about listening to His voice in your CO2?


Friday, November 20, 2009

CO2s and disciple making (1)

Roger Bullard is involved with planting churches and making disciples in eastern Europe. We were recently emailing about CO2s and I shared with him why a "church of two" is the best context I've ever found for making disciples.

Here's the first reason... a CO2 is daily (or as close to daily as possible).

This may seem insignificant but it's actually extremely important and generally overlooked today. Most approaches to making disciples focus on meeting together weekly. However, there is a depth that develops when you walk together on a daily basis. You get below the surface to the deep places where God wants to work in our lives.

Here's what we learn from Scripture about the daily nature of making disciples...

1. It's the way Jesus did it. Jesus was with his disciples every day for three years. If we are going to do it the way the Master did it, we have to think "daily".

2. It's the way the early church did it. "Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts and they broke bread in their homes..." Acts 2:46.

3. It's what we are commanded to do. "Encourage one another daily..." Heb. 3:13.

What have you discovered about the value of connecting daily?


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

CO2: Ten Pairs

Noah Cremisino leads a house church of mostly young adults in Denver, CO. Here's how he introduced CO2s to his church. Notice how they used listening to find out who to pair with.

"This week, as a house church, I challenged everyone to "CO2" with someone for 2 weeks. We spent time in silence praying and asking God who we should pair with and each person got someone (not a single overlap either - amazing!!) that they are going to pray and share with daily. So far it looks like we have around 10 pairs.

After the two weeks we're going to talk about how it went and hopefully make it part of our daily experience in life.Pray for us as we go - that we'd really find deep fusion in the small clusters - that they would be transformational on the deepest level.

Also - as I was explaining it, we got into a discussion about the principle of pairs. Almost everything in the universe is built on pairs from sub-atomic structure to galactic bodies... if you dig into it you'll always find that a pair of something is essential for it's stability. You disassemble the pairs (split an atom for example) and often the entire unit destructs. Chromosomes - the body deconstructs. Protons/Neutrons - the atom becomes unstable. Male/Female - no procreation / families deconstruct. Etc. etc. -- Just some thoughts...

Anyway - I'll let you know how it all goes."

Thanks, Noah! Looking forward to hearing about the "experiment".


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Digging Deeper into SASHET - Part 3

SASHET is not just sharing about our emotions.

It's also about listening well to others as they share. It's about creating a safe place where people can talk about what they are really feeling.

This means we have to learn not to give advice during SASHET. Tod Brown explains more about this in a short video. Scroll down to "Digging Deeper into SASHET - Part 3.

What have you learned about doing SASHET well?


BTW - I had a great picture for this but the upload wasn't working!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

CO2: The Heart of Organic

I love the growing number of stories about people in our CO2 Community sharing with others what God is doing. Here's one from Sherry Reinbold in Michigan...

"Lori (Sherry's CO2 partner) and I’ve shared what we’ve been doing and what God’s teaching us to our Organic Greenhouse – a once a month meeting of organic church leaders in our area, and they want to hear more and would like us to teach them more about this at our next meeting in November.

This is what we were told by the guy who facilitates the meeting : “Was thinking about inserting the stuff from LK 10 because I see it as so foundational and practical. It is the heart of organic.” He hadn’t heard of LK10 before or about this experiment and was very excited. He has been a church planter (organic style) for over 15 years and particularly in the Ukraine."

Sherry and Lori - looking forward to hearing how your teaching goes at the meeting in November!

Everyone else - tell us about the opportunities God is giving you to share. Also, for those who decide to try out CO2, encourage them to sign up on our website. (Or, you can sign them up with their permission.) That allows them to receive these posts and to contribute to the CO2 Community. All you have to do is enter the email address in the box in the right hand column.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

CO2: Miss me?

Turns out that our free Feedblitz account ended after a month (which I didn't realize). Feedblitz are (is?) the folks that send my posts out to you as an email.

As a result, some of our most recent posts have shown up on the blog site but may not have been sent out to each of you. My apologies! (I'm still learning about this blogging business.)

I've upgraded our Feedblitz account and future posts should show up in your email box.

Go to our blog site to check out my most recent post which is a very exciting story about the CO2 "virus" spreading to South Asia.

I'm more convinced than ever that Jesus' principle of pairs (CO2s) has the potential to literally change the culture of today's church around the world. Of course, pairs are only the context or container. The power comes from learning to hear God's voice and learning to live from the hearts Jesus gave us.

Your stories of what God is doing are key to all of this. Keep'em coming!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

CO2 "virus" spreads to South Asia

We continue to see the amazing capacity of CO2s to spread in a viral manner. Recently, a Campus Crusade Regional Director from South Asia (name and location withheld for security) spent a week here in Denver with one of my CO2 partners, Hugh Brandt.

Here's Hugh's report...

"We introduced our friend to many Christians here in Denver and visited several house churches where he was impressed with the level of honesty and depth. We also introduced him to the "church of two" concept. He said that this was perfect timing because he had recently realized that the once-a-week meetings with the students they were disciplining was not adequate. He saw immediately that daily CO2s were the answer for effective disciplemaking. As a result, he decided that he would teach this to his staff so that they could then teach it to the students. As a first step, he and I have begun doing a CO2 via Skype. God is at work - between Denver and South Asia!"

Hugh's story highlights one of the important lessons we've learned so far. That is, that actually doing a CO2 with someone (even for just a week) is more effective than just giving them the CO2 Flyer to read. Hugh - we're looking forward to hearing what you are learning as you do a CO2 via Skype with someone on the other side of the world!

Your comments?


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Why Share our Emotions?

Connecting with our emotions, and with our heart, is a skill that allows us to connect with others.   As we learn to connect with our own hearts and the hearts of others, we are also - at the same time - developing our ability to connect with God.  Another way of saying this is that as we work on the skill of tuning into the "frequency" of our emotions, we are also fine tuning our ability to connect with the ongoing frequency of God which is always on and always available if we will plug into our receiver.

In this new video, John White and Kent Smith address the question, "Why Share our Emotions?"  You can check it out by going to the LK10 Resources website and scrolling to the bottom of the page. 

What do you think about the importance of connecting to your own heart and emotions?  What have you learned as you have practiced this discipline of paying attention to the emotions that show up in your heart and in the heart of your C02 partner?  Share your thoughts in the Comments, below.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Digging Deeper into SASHET - Part 2

Tod Brown shares more about the power of using the tool - SASHET - to connect with our own heart and with others.

Here's a quote from the brief video:  "When we're listening deeply to each other - because Jesus is present - He is communicating something to us, He is authoring something, He is doing something...and we're able to listen and pay attention and recognize that Jesus is doing something."

Check out this new video at the LK10 Resources Website, then scroll to the bottom of the page.

What are your thoughts about SASHET as a tool?  Share them below in the Comments.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

CO2 Day Twenty Three: Digging Deeper into SASHET (1)

"How are you?"

"I'm fine. How are you?"

"I'm fine."

How many times have you had that conversation with Christian friends at church or in other settings? We want to go deeper but we're not always sure how to do it. SASHET gives us a simple tool to do just that. To begin to develop heart level relationships.

At first glance, this tool appears so simple that we are tempted to dismiss it. Take a look at this 3 minute video where Tod Brown takes us deeper into SASHET. (Scroll all the way down.)

What are you experiencing with SASHET?