Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The revolutionary house church phenomenon


Dr. Ralph Winter was one of my profs at Fuller Seminary over 30 years ago. He was the founder of the the U.S. Center for World Missions in Pasadena and the editor of of "Mission Frontiers". In the March-April 2005 edition of that magazine he wrote the Editorial below. Seems to me he had some profound insights into why the house church movement is so important. See what you think.

John



Here are some selected quotes from Dr. Winter's editorial -

"...the trend to house churches is a phenomenon which runs counter to the long and slow drift of American churches away from extended families. The American church today is strikingly more and more a place for family fragments, and even seeks to replace natural families!

The New Testament 'church' was a worshipping household like that of Cornelius, Lydia, or Crispus, and was called an eklesia, a word that does not mean what we understand 'church' to mean.

What happened to us (slowly)? Modern age-stratified, highly specialized society has become Satan's Weapon of Mass Destruction of the family - precisely where worship and accountability are supposed to be primary! The church has mindlessly followed the world's pattern: a family driving up to a church door is instantly chopped into pieces.

...Three- and four-generation households, which once joined churches together, and had family-level worship, are now almost universally reduced to 'nuclear' families (e.g., family fragments). The grand-parent generation is no longer a stabilizing factor, divorce has skyrocketed, wives are abused, children go wrong, etc. This happened slowly, over 300 years. Thus, today we are blind to what has happened - but must deal with the consequences.

Those of us who have lived overseas, where most societies have not yet been 'Westernized' and stacked against normal marriage, may be among the only ones who can even perceive - much less unravel - the reality of this tragedy.

...Unfortunately, many congregations today have the idea that getting people into small groups is all that is necessary. However, extended families can be small groups, but small groups cannot readily become extended families.

Pastors, frantic to do more than preach generalities to crowds on Sunday, may hope to get most of their congregations into small groups. Sure, those family fragments out there in the pews desperately need to rise above their individualism and isolation. Thus, a non-family, artificial small group is better than nothing.

In such churches you may never hear a word about what could and should go on at the family level. I myself, in Evangelical churches all my life, have never heard a sermon on how or why families ought to have family devotions.

But it is clearly better - as well as more important - to make every real family a small group than to try to make small groups into artificial families. (JW - This one sentence could revolutionize the church in the US! One of the concepts that we have been working on is summed up in this sentence. "The marriage, and then the family, is the first and most foundational expression of the church.")

...All over the world it is gradually becoming clear that you can build a big church out of small groups, but big churches without families remaining intact aren't worth much.

...The house church phenomenon could be revolutionary. It just may be that the most valuable gift missions can give back to the American church is a renewed sense of the family as God intended it to be."

Preach it, Dr. Winter!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Upside-Down Leadership

What kind of leadership produces the kind of healthy, vibrant families of Jesus that we call "simple churches"? House2House Ministries has produced another excellent video that unpacks the servant leadership found in the Bible.

I highly recommend that you take time to watch this video.

John




Upside-Down Leadership from simplechurch.com on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Three leaders talk about SASHET

To be effective, a house church must become a genuine community. Simply meeting together once a week isn't enough. Hearts must be knit together. As John Eldredge says, we must become "intimate allies".

SASHET is a simple but extraordinarily powerful tool toward the goal of genuine community. We teach this to all of our house church leaders and church planters. Recently, I interviewed three leaders about SASHET. I think you will find their comments below to be very helpful.

For more on SASHET, scroll down the right side of this blog to TOPICS. Then, keep going until you find SASHET. 25 postings on this subject so far. (In case you haven't noticed, there is a whole education on topics like listening to God and house church life in the TOPICS section of this blog.)

The LK10 Apprenticeship. (Our leadership training intensive - 12 weeks with groups of 12 people.) We've just finished the Fall session and are making plans for the Spring session which will begin on the last Sunday in January. More information how to sign up for the Spring session soon. Stay tuned to this blog.

John



Sunday, December 5, 2010

Using CO2s to Plant House Churches

About a year ago, Sean Hyatt (Aurora, CO) felt the Lord directing him to begin doing a CO2 (church of two) with his family. (Since this included his wife and three children, it really was a CO5!) Sean has been faithful in this for almost a year now. See my four part interview with him here: http://storiesfromtherevolution.blogspot.com/2010/07/co2-hyatt-family-1.html

Scripture says that, if we are faithful in small things, God will give us greater opportunities (Lk. 19:17). That's exactly what has happened with Sean. The Lord has now brought people to Sean from three different cities in Colorado who want to learn how to start house churches (ie, 10:2b answers!). In each case, Sean is using a CO2 with these men to train them how to start churches in their homes. See the video below for the full story.

My sense is that the Lord is raising up a growing number of "Seans" to be church planters. The "virus" is spreading!

John



Sunday, November 21, 2010

Jim Mellon on giving

Jim and Kathy Mellon serve a network of house churches in and around Killeen, TX. Since 1992 this network has contributed more than $1,000,000 to the work of the Kingdom around the world. See http://www.story.house2house.com/2010/05/21/the-big-bang-for-your-bucks-theory/

So, when Jim speaks about giving in house church, he is worth listening to. See below for his comments at a LK10 Training Conference about the importance of giving and supporting church planters.

John




Wednesday, November 17, 2010

LK10 Apprenticeship: Week Eight (4)

Synergy, in general, may be defined as two or more agents working together to produce a result not obtainable by any of the agents independently.

In the first three parts of this interview with Jim Mellon and Wade Adams, we identified the following "agents" or components that create the synergy of the LK10 Apprenticeship.

1. Weekly (for 12 weeks) learning assignments
2. Private Facebook discussion group
3. Daily CO2 relationship with one other person
4. Personal coaching session every other week with cohort leader.
5. Community conference call every other week

In part four of this interview (see below), Jim and Wade comment on the final components...

6. Participants invest in the ministry of the cohort leader (see 1 Cor. 9:11)
7. Multiplication of cohorts

John


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

LK10 Apprenticeship: Week Eight (3)

Here's the best definition of the LK10 Apprenticeship: a small "community of practice" (a cohort of 12 people) that creates a powerful learning environment.

Our learning is focused on three foundational rhythms or practices...

1. Individually learning to pay attention to both our own hearts and God's heart.
2. Learning to pay attention in these two areas with one other person. We call this a CO2 (church of two).
3. Learning to pay attention in these areas with a small family like group. We call this a house church or simple church.

The learning environment of the Apprenticeship is the result of the synergy of several different components. In the last two posts we heard from Jim Mellon and Wade Adams about

1. The weekly learning assignments
2. The private Facebook discussion group
3. The CO2

In the video below Jim and Wade talk about two more components: coaching and group conference calls.

John





Monday, November 15, 2010

LK10 Apprenticeship: Week Eight (2)

The LK10 Apprenticeship can best be described as a small "community of practice" that creates a powerful learning environment. Several components come together to create this community. In the video below, Jim Mellon and Wade Adams reflect on the third component: being a "church of two" (CO2) on a daily basis.

John



Sunday, November 14, 2010

LK10 Apprenticeship: Week Eight (1)

We are continuing to pay close attention to what God is doing through the LK10 Apprenticeship. Eight weeks have been completed with four weeks to go. This last week I was in Killeen, TX for a LK10 Leadership Training Conference. I had the opportunity to interview two of the twelve people who have been in my cohort.

Jim and Cathy Mellon are two of the mature, godly leaders in the house church movement. They started their first house church 18 years ago and helped found House2House Ministries about 10 years ago. http://www.site.house2house.com/

In the Apprenticeship, Jim has teamed up in a CO2 (church of two) with Wade Adams. The Lord moved Wade into the house church world in the last couple of years after 19 years as a pastor in traditional churches. So, these two men are mature, experienced Christian leaders.

The Apprenticeship can best be described as a small "community of practice" that creates a powerful learning environment. Several components come together to create this community. In the video below, Jim and Wade reflect on the first two components: weekly learning assignments and a Facebook discussion group.

John


Friday, November 5, 2010

What's it like to be "coached"?

We are about to enter week eight of our twelve week LK10 Apprenticeship. There are several elements that go into making this a unique learning experience. One of the most important is coaching. Everyone in each cohort receives a coaching session every other week. I asked Sean Hyatt to reflect on what he has experienced so far. As you read what Sean wrote (below) you will gain a clearer sense of what we mean by "coaching".

John


I grew up in a church denomination where there was a lot of "pouring in" but very little "drawing out". All of my life I have "sat under" good teaching and preaching. A lot of pouring in. Even in counseling sessions with church leaders it was a lot of them trying to talk sense into me, and me doing a lot of listening. This had its value, but recently I have been learning that this could have been so much more effective.

Over the last 6 weeks participating in coaching sessions with John White, I am slowly (but surely) coming to an understanding of the value of "drawing out". We have had three coaching sessions now, each under an hour long -- and in all three, I have left the conversation feeling incredibly clear and edified in the topic we ended up coaching around. The first session had to do with frustrations and fears and lack of direction in my relationship and mentoring of my 11-year-old son. The second, regarding my wife and I butting heads over a certain stressful issue. The third was about an upcoming teaching session on prayer that I will be teaching that I needed some clarity on.

On all three topics, I came into our coaching session honestly doubting that it was going to help much (thanks to my old traditional mindset). Nothing against John - if there is anyone whose counseling and coaching abilities I truly believe in, they are John's. It is this unfamiliar process - how can just talking about something, and me answering a bunch of questions about it help get me the answers I am in such deep need of? But go figure - on all three topics after a short time of discussion over the phone, I left with so much direction, clarity, and understanding that I could not have asked for more!

What adds to my feeling of pleasant surprise on this coaching thing, is that in two out of the three sessions, I didn't even know what I wanted to talk about - and so we approached it by me simply mentioning a number of things that were on my mind and heart, and then trying to pick one of those topics I mentioned (awesome - coaching around want I need coaching on!).

John has been careful to point out to me at the end of each of these sessions, that the majority of our coaching time was me simply talking about these things, and discovering things for myself. He's simply there to be a good listener, ask some key questions, and make sure I am noticing what I am teaching myself as I am talking. I love it!

So, my experience in being coached so far has been both eye-opening and powerfully edifying for me. Personally, this has been the most powerful and formative aspect of this apprenticeship thus far. It has even given me the desire to be a coach myself - to learn "how" to coach others, so that I can be this helpful for my own friends, family, and brethren in the Lord too!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Eight year old: "God will never talk to me!"

The Luke Ten Community is committed to restoring the church to the home. Part of what this means is that family members learn how to pay attention to and talk about their hearts. (Did that happen in the family you grew up in?) And, then, it also means learning how to hear God's voice. We believe that children can hear God just as well as adults can.

Yesterday you read the story of how this way of thinking about church is being worked out with a mother and her 16 year old daughter. Today, in the video below, I want you to hear a wonderful story about Desi Starr's 8 year old son.

Imagine what would happen if this way of being church began to spread.

Our motto: Transforming cities one household at a time.

John




Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Understanding more about SASHET


In this video, Tod Brown shares some important insights about how and why we use SASHET to check in.

John




My 16 year old daughter and I were walking on the beach the other day. She had been home from school for about a week as she had a bad acne breakout. She had become very depressed as a boy at school had been rather cruel to her, and she felt very ugly and wanting to isolate herself. This was in contrast to just 4 weeks prior when she had 2 prophetic words over her life at 2 different times of an Esther anointing on her life.

I had introduced her to the SASHET concept some time ago, so asked if we could do it as we walked back along the beach. She told me that she was excited, but also tender. She was excited that she had such a bright future with God as she revisited everything that had been spoken over her life. She was tender as she reflected on the pain in her heart about the acne/bullying, but after resting for a week she could see that becoming vulnerable by this situation had brought her closer to God. I asked her what she felt God saying to her and she felt Him saying He would heal her heart and she would be left with only scars, scars being a healthy reminder of both the wound and the healing.

It was then that we could "see" that what was happening on the outside of her body was a reflection of what was happening within. Stuff coming up and out as God was applying gentle pressure. As we prayed I felt Gods strong presence and healing, honouring her for sharing truthfully and for responding to His prevenient work in her life.

I am sensing how powerful SASHET really is. Tod said that staying to these 6 words forces us to go deeper. I am loving the word DEEP - "deep calls unto deep", and God meets us there. I feel such a desire on God's part to heal us deep within. He has been saying to me this week about His desire for "truth in the innermost parts of our being". I am moved by the depth that He wants to go with us, it is overwhelming and all consuming.

Monday, October 25, 2010

LK10 Meetings in Central Texas

I wanted to get the word out to anyone in Central Texas about our upcoming meetings in Killeen. The gathering on Sunday (11/7) is for anyone interested in house church. The meetings on Monday (11/8) and Tuesday (11/9) evenings build on the Sunday gathering and focus on leadership training.

In order to attend and to get information about locations, you will need to call Jim Mellon. (254) 466-1853

John


The Church Comes Home: An Introduction to House Churches

Sunday, November 7th from 3 – 9 pm

George Barna’s book, Revolution, asserts that there is a major shift underway in the American church landscape. A recent Pew Foundation Report supports this idea with the finding that 7% of American Christians now consider a meeting in their home as their primary expression of church. Across the country, thousands of house churches are appearing. And, some traditional churches are beginning to develop hybrid models that incorporate the key elements of house church life.

Join John White and Hobby Chapin, leaders in the Luke Ten Community, as they explore the Biblical basis for “the church in the home”. Understand the value of “rabbit” churches and “elephant” churches. Learn practical tools that can help any group become “a vibrant family of Jesus”. Imagine what a church planting movement in Central Texas might look like. Interactive and practical.

Sponsored by the Luke Ten Community and the Killeen House Church Network


Training for House Church Leaders and Church Planters.

Two nights. Monday and Tuesday (Nov. 8 and 9) from 6:30 – 9 pm

For anyone who is already leading a house church or feels God may be calling them to do that. Also, for those called to church planting.

Join John White and Hobby Chapin as we examine the strategy for church planting that Jesus taught to his disciples. Key concepts like: praying for and identifying the house of peace, starting CO2s (churches of two), forming meaningful community, learning to hear the Head of the church together, developing regional apostolic teams. Interactive and practical.

This will build on the concepts presented on Sunday. So, people planning on attending Monday and Tuesday evenings should also attend the meeting on Sunday.

Want to know more about LK10? Check out these websites http://lk10.com/ and http://storiesfromtherevolution.blogspot.com/

Friday, October 22, 2010

NBC News Reports on the House Church Movement

More and more the media is catching on to the house church movement. Last night (10/21/10), Brian Williams on NBC's Nightly News reported that, at a time when the Crystal Cathedral in California is filing for bankruptcy, 9% of American Protestants now attend only house church. This is an estimated 6-12 million people. (See the video below.)

Although not reported on the program, this represents growth at an unprecedented rate. Even 10 years ago, house churches were almost unheard of in this country. The percentage of Protestants attending only house church was certainly under 1%.

And, no one (no human, at least) is behind this major shift in the American spiritual landscape. It wasn't launched by Rick Warren or Bill Hybels. It wasn't planned by the Southern Baptists or by Campus Crusade. It is simply a spontaneous move of the Holy Spirit to return the church to the way church was practiced in the New Testament.

The Luke Ten Community exists to join God in what He is doing with house churches. Our mission is to "connect and equip emerging house church leaders". Our vision is to see "a vibrant family of Jesus (house church) on every block of every neighborhood of every city or region." http://lk10.com/

John


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The 10:2b Prayer in Belfast in 1932


When I was a student at Fuller Seminary in the early 1970s, I had the privilege of taking a class on the history of revivals from Dr. J. Edwin Orr. At the time, Dr. Orr was well into his 70s and certainly knew more than any man alive about what the Spirit of God had done in periods of revival throughout history.

What I didn't know until a few days ago was how instrumental he was in a revival that occurred 40 years before in Belfast, Ireland in 1934. This grew out of Orr and one other man praying what we would now call the 10:2b Prayer (ie, they were praying for "laborers"). Take a look at the video below and notice the very specific requests (which grew out of listening to God) that these two men (a CO2?) were making.

What city are you praying for? Who is your 10:2b prayer partner? What specific requests has God put on your heart?

John


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Forging ahead with lights and sirens"

One of the Learning Assignments last week for the Apprenticeship was reading a quote from Brother Yun, the Chinese house church leader, on the importance of hearing God's voice. Dean Cross, a battalion chief for a Fire Department in Sacramento, posted this great comment (see below) on Brother Yun's quote in his cohort's online discussion group.

John


As I was responding to a fire call today with multiple units responding, one of my duties is to make sure that all the fire units are on the same radio channel and so I do a roll call. If a unit does not respond to the roll call as I call them off, that typically means they are not on the tactical channel and are missing all the radio traffic that is associated with the incident. Although it was a false alarm today, one unit never did switch his radio to the right channel. He missed the fact that it was a false alarm and although the unit was cancelled, he continued to blaze to the address with lights and sirens.

I met the officer of the unit there and emphasised the importance of switching over to the assigned tactical channel for roll call and to hear what is going on with the incident. It reminded me of day nine in the CO2 e-book where Brother Yun talks about how if you aren't tuned in to God's fresh voice (channel) everyday you will be left behind as the children of Isreal were when they didn't follow the cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. How many of us have been forging ahead with lights and sirens in our spiritual journeys when the call was cancelled because we weren't listening to what God is up to currently and preveniently. God is talking, but we are on the wrong radio frequency to hear His voice and so we forge ahead without Him. I'm glad I'm learning how to quiet myself, switch to the right radio channel and listen.

Here's the quote from the CO2 ebook...

Brother Yun wrote The Heavenly Man which is the amazing story of Godʼs work in China through house churches. Hereʼs his comment about the importance of hearing Godʼs voice…

"Another important thing every follower of Jesus must learn is that God's methods and strategies are never exactly the same in any two situations. It is futile to use a strategy God gave a hundred years ago, or last year, or even last week. He is not some kind of machine. He is a personal, intimate God, and His mercies are new every morning!


After the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, they were led by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night. The children of Israel had to follow the Lord whenever the cloud or fire moved. If they were too slow, they would be left behind. We must hear His voice and receive His guidance everyday. When we do so, we will be amazed at the number of opportunities that open for us to share His love with people." Brother Yun, Living Water (p. 135)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

"Every home a church"


In articulating the idea of "every home a church", we are recapturing a fundamental Hebraic value. Marvin Wilson in Our Father Abraham: Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith writes...

After the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem... the rabbis began to refer to the home as a miqdash me'at, that is, a "small sanctuary" or "miniature temple."... Foundational to all theory on the biblical concept of family is the Jewish teaching that the home is more important than the synagogue. In Jewish tradition, the center of religious life has always been the home. The Church has yet to grapple seriously with this crucial concept... Nothing in God's plan has ever replaced the home as bearing primary responsibility for imparting Christian values and insuring godly nourishment and growth for each family member." (p. 214-216)

See below for two videos about one family that is taking this biblical concept seriously.  The first video was made early in 2010.  At that point, the Hyatt family had been experimenting with this for about two months.  The second video interview took place about a year later.  This is a wonderful picture of a home that has become a miqdash me'at.

America (or any country) would be transformed if every Christian household returned to this one biblical value!

John




Saturday, October 16, 2010

"The power of two"

I want to continue to give you snapshots of the Apprenticeship. (Perhaps God will want you to be a part when we begin new cohorts in January.)

The following is a post (shared with permission) from Sharon Hutchinson in Queensland, Australia. Let me point out a few aspects of the Apprenticeship that are illustrated in what Sharon writes...

  • Each cohort has 10-12 members who connect with each other in multiple ways. One way is a private online discussion group. What you will read below is Sharon's post to that group last week.
  • Each week there are Learning Assignments for the cohort. Sharon is sharing with the group her reflections (which are excellent!) on last weeks assignments.
  • Every cohort member is in a "church of two" (CO2). Sharon's partner is Maree Watson who lives in a whole different part of Australia. (What this illustrates is that distance in no deterrent to effective CO2s!)
  • Every cohort connects via period conference calls. From Sharon's response you can see that relationships are already forming.
  • This cohort is already becoming a community after 3-4 weeks even though it's members are around the world (Australia, the Philippines, Eastern Europe, the US)
So, take a moment to enjoy Sharon's post below.

John




Hey everyone, I'm Sharon checking in for the first time. Please forgive me as I was away on a camping trip in the rain with my dog in the red mud!!! Taking me a while to recuperate!!

Have a day off today and have been catching up on all 3 assignments - Maree and I have been CO2ing and listening most days and I have listened to the phone call you had yesterday. Wow, I feel like I know you all already!

God has been revealing so much to me over the past 4 weeks about 'the power of 2"! Maree and I had 2 days together recently (we live 1000kms apart) - I notice that our listening time is much more powerful when we are physically together. He started then speaking about this 2 concept and creating culture.

This is an excerpt from my journal from then, "Unity - not loneliness or aloneness. Isolation is a tool of the devil in mind, body and spirit. We were designed to live, love and work together. There is power in 2, not 1. Laughter comes where there is 2, joy and passion also. I created 2 to stand alongside each other, to be helpers, to bear each others burdens. This is My heart, to bring people back into unity, groups of 2 - to break the cycle of depression and addiction"

After reading through assignment 3 I feel that God is reinforcing this "Power of 2", there is a huge spiritual key here. I absolutely loved what Eugene Peterson had to say about the Song of Songs - " ... the lonely isolation of the solitary person must be invaded. Life to be meaningful must be joined; intimacy is a requirement of wholeness"

I look back into my own life and realise how alone I have been, how there has been a misconception of mistique and strength over the "lone ranger" type ... women especially made to feel isolated in their jobs or through suburban neurosis. I have been asked to pray for quite a few people this week with depression or some sort of addiction or neurosis and I just feel that the Lord is saying "this is the answer" .... I am flat out excited that God is revealing a key to fighting off all these things that have been plaguing His people all these years, and whats more - offering a real solution to those who are yet to become part of His body!

Sharon

Friday, October 15, 2010

City Networks and listening

In the Luke Ten Community, we believe that the individual house church is important but it's not enough by itself. Our sense is that the Lord has said to us, "Smaller still. And, wider yet."

Smaller still is the "church of two" (CO2). A house church made up of multiple CO2s is well on it's way to becoming a "vibrant family of Jesus".

"Wider yet" means that individual house churches and their leaders are connecting regionally. In fact, this is the seventh of the seven key practices of the Luke Ten Community: Connecting in regional networks.

One of the expressions of this regional connection here in Colorado is periodic All-Gatherings. (See the picture above.) These grow out of our MRTs (regional apostolic teams) listening together for the Lord's direction. To see more of what is going on in Colorado, go to http://www.coloradohousechurch.com/

The Luke Ten Community is a "community of practice". That means that we learn from each other on many levels. We would love to hear how the Lord is directing your regional network. Send me your story and I'll share it with the larger Community.

John

Thursday, October 14, 2010

10:2b in Australia

As we continue to "beseech the Lord of the Harvest", He continues to answer that prayer and connect us with apostolic people (both men and women) around the world who resonate with the vision of LK10.

Below is an email (shared with permission) from Margie James who lives with her husband near Perth, Australia and who has recently joined the Luke Ten Community. See http://lk10.com What I love about it is that the Lord is so clearly arranging all of this. He is the one who has placed the same things in our hearts and in Margie and David's hearts.

Welcome Margie and David! We join with you today in asking the Harvest Master to thrust out both apostolic church planters and people of peace in your part of western Australia. Arrange divine connections for Margie and David with these people towards the end of a vibrant family of Jesus within easy reach of every person in Perth.

John


Hi John,

I would love to connect with Maree, can you connect us? (Margie had just watched the three part interview with Maree Watson here http://storiesfromtherevolution.blogspot.com/2010/09/co2-in-australia-1.html )

...David and I are eager to find others who can co2 with us, we have a few church friends but on the whole here in the west things move rather slow. We are praying the Luke 10:2 prayer and seeing a great result with other christians but we have not known them too long and we are getting opportunities to share the organic concept with them...there is a reluctance here in WA that if you have no 'covering', you have little to offer! (it would seem that 20+yrs is not valid christian practice?!) :)

So we are back to building on the foundations and relationships are growing, I discern some great things ahead with a few of the couples seeking to build a deeper walk together with us, so we are humbly looking to The Lord and waiting for His instructions. We are confident that the days ahead will be filled with more of Him and less of us!

I have a desire to go knocking on doors, the unction is so that I can hardly contain it, I have heard others say likewise...not sure what the outcome could be here, but excited nonetheless?

We are excited about Luk10 and Co2, and I have just watched your video with Kent, re MRT http://regionalrevolutionaries.blogspot.com/2010_01_01_archive.html
...and this is exactly what Father is placing in my spirit. Such practical listening and apostolic collaboration with an authentic heart's desire to know what Jesus wants us to do. Asking Father, 'what is your Will for us today' is such a great Kingdom life relationship and one that we put into practice several years ago,so we are excited about this relational aspect of Kingdom Building and Communication.

I want to say I am greatly encouraged John, thankyou!

Margie James

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Listening (to God) is learnable (3)

There is a great deal of talk these days about being "missional" Christians. But, in the third and last part of this interview, Marty has a different take on this. In fact, he talks about the shift he has made from being "just missional to being incarnational". The focus, for Marty, is no longer trying to "figure out" how to be missional. Rather, it is learning to live like Jesus who was in constant communication with His Father. Marty references Jn. 12:49 where Jesus says that the Father told Him not only what to say but how to say it.

What this means for all of us in the Luke Ten Community is that "mission flows from listening". We are not missional because we are focusing on being missional. Rather, we focus on listening and see everything else (community, worship, mission, etc.) flow from that.

John


Monday, October 11, 2010

Listening (to God) is learnable (2)

Marty Reiswig is a church planter in Aurora which is east of Denver. Hobby Chapin is a church planter in Brighton which is north of Denver.

In the second part of this video interview (see below), Marty tells about "shadowing" Hobby as a way to learn to hear God and to see how this relates to leading house churches. I love the attitude that both of these guys have.

Marty illustrates the humility of a learner. "I want to hang out with you and learn everything I can."

Hobby illustrates the humility of a teacher who isn't "lording it over". "Let's hang out and learn together."

Notice also Marty's observation that Hobby does the same thing at all of his meetings (house church gathering, leaders' meetings, etc.) They check in with each other on the heart level and they talk about what they are hearing from God.

Take a look

John



Sunday, October 10, 2010

Listening (to God) is learnable (1)

The video below is the first of a three part interview with Marty Reiswig, Hobby Chapin and Desi Starr where they are talking about how they learned to hear God's voice. This will also give you a bit of the feel for one of our MRTs (regional apostolic teams) here in Denver.

In this first part, Marty observes that much of his life as a Christian involved a "personal relationship with the Bible" but not much of a "personal relationship with Jesus". The transition to an intimate conversational relationship with Jesus hasn't been easy. Marty shares what has helped him in making this shift.

To think Biblically about this idea of hearing God's voice, compare John the Baptist with the religious leaders in Jesus' day.

In John 1:32-34, John the Baptist reports that the only way he was able to identify that Jesus was the Son of God was that "the one (ie, God) who sent me told me". The quotation marks in verse 33 are very important! John is reporting what he heard from God (and it didn't come through Bible study!).

Now, compare with the Jewish leaders in John 5:33-47. These guys "diligently study the Scriptures" (v. 39) but, according to Jesus, "you have never heard His (the Father's) voice" (v. 37). As a result, they were unable to understand who Jesus was or to come to Him for life.

Our conclusion is not to downgrade Bible study but to upgrade the intimate conversational relationship with Jesus. The Bible remains our "authoritative guide for faith and practice". But, we realize that the primary practice that it points toward is hearing God's voice and obeying.

Learning to do this is the journey we are on.

John


Friday, October 8, 2010

How to plant a biker church

How would you start a church with people who are culturally different from you?

I'm an old (63 last month), white, middle class American. How would I help start a church with goths or hispanics or Russians or bikers?

I can think of two ways.

One way would be to begin to study the cultural group that I'm praying for. What is their language, their dress, their values, etc.? This is sometimes called "exegeting their culture". Then, I could attempt to adapt to that culture. Learn their language. Begin to dress and act like them. Sometimes God calls people to minister cross culturally like this.

The second way is what we see in Acts 10. Peter had been instructed by Jesus to "make disciples of all ethne (people groups)". One of those "people groups" that was culturally distant from Peter, a Galilean Jew, was Roman soldiers. In this case, Peter didn't begin to study Roman military culture and attempt to enlist in the army. He didn't start wearing a helmet and carrying a sword.

Rather, the Lord of the harvest (think Peter was praying Lk 10:2b?) provides Cornelius, a Roman officer, who completely understood the culture of that people group, as the "man of peace". No doubt, Cornelius became the spiritual father of a church birthed in his home. And, no doubt, many Roman soldiers came to Christ through him and became part of his house church.

So, how would you plant a biker church? You might study biker culture and begin wearing leathers and driving a big Harley. Or, you might beseech the Lord of the harvest to provide a "Cornelius" from the biker world. This is exactly what we see in Wade Adam's video interview with Ronnie Hurta (Taylor, TX) below.

What are you learning about praying 10:2b for the various ethne in your city or region?

John