Running With The Wind

RunRunning with the wind is never linear. It twists and turns. It rises and falls. It accelerates and de-accelerates. To run like the wind, we must run with the wind. Running against the wind, may get us where we want to go, but not necessarily to the correct destination. And upon arrival, we are tired… fatigued.

The Spirit of God is like the wind. And yet, we try to corral His power. We seek to control his twists and turns, his rising and falling, his speeding up and slowing down. And though our desires may be pure, they are still our desires. We ask God to bless what we are doing. Instead of discovering what He is doing and running with the wind.

When was the last time anyone you know listed the steps of your churches spiritual transformation strategy as their pathway for spiritual growth? Do you know anyone who ever listed class 101, 201, 301 and 401 as the process of their growth with Christ? Or how about the individual who lists the front porch, foyer, living room, and kitchen as their journey to spiritual awakening? Or how about the “Six S’s”? Or the “Five C’s”?

If people came in one shape, one size, one personality, one gift-mix, one economic package, one IQ, then a prescribed spiritual growth track might work. But it would also possess the qualities of boring and mundane. As would all facets of life.

Jesus’ model of spiritual growth is much more random. Much less strategic. Far more simple. A farmer went out to sow his seed. Some fell on good soil. Some on rocky soil. Some on a path. And others among the thorns. The seed fell where it was thrown and where the wind carried it. The only intentionality in the story is the farmer going out to sow seed.

We never again need to sit at a table with men and women delicately scripting a spiritual growth plan for others. Instead, let’s labor to create healthy environments where people can heal and thrive. Environments that are intentional, yet random. Environments that are simple, yet profound. Environments that are unscripted by man, yet directed by God. Environments that encourage people to run with wind.

4 Spiritual Positions

What is your spiriutal position in relation to God?

Which group do you most desire to live Jesus’ mission with?

10 Way to Create Margin

28-time-managementMark Batterson has published a great blog on how to create margin. Read below.

One of the quantum challenges leaders face is this: as the organizations they lead start experiencing organizational growth they stop experiencing personal growth. Why? Because of the demands of the organizational growth. They start leading the organization and stop leading themselves. And that is when the blessing turns into a curse. Growth will grind to a halt. In fact, it will probably implode. You lose spiritual margin. You lose intellectual margin. You lose creative margin. And you stop growing. No Margin = No Growth.

The key to continued organizational and personal growth boils down to this: margin. You need margin to think. You need margin to play. You need margin to laugh. You need margin to dream. You need margin to have impromptu conversations. You need margin to seize unanticipated opportunities. You need margin.

One of the primary responsibilities of leaders is creating margin. It almost seems selfish. But you are doing everybody you work with a disservice if you give them everything you’ve got. You need margin. And it starts with time management. If you don’t control your calendar, your calendar will control you.

Here are a ten ways to create margin:

1) Use all of your vacation days. You owe it to yourself and your family.
2) Protect your day off religiously.
3) Don’t schedule meetings on certain days or before certain hours.
4) Delegate more responsibility.
5) Only check email during designated times during the day.
6) Get up earlier in the morning.
7) Schedule meetings with God and yourself.
8) Turn off the TV.
9) Get out of your organizational context and go to a conference.
10) Hit the gym. You don’t have enough time or energy NOT to work out.

Have any ideas to add to the mix? How do you create margin?

Welcome – The Box Family!

box family2Our ability to establish new relationships is directly proportional to our ability to impact the community with God’s love. Through the ongoing development of new relationships, we are afforded new opportunities to share Jesus’ message. And these new relationships are essential in creating a strong environment of spiritual transformation.

Because relationships are core to Restore Community Church and to creating effective ministry, we are hiring Aaron Box as Restore’s Networking Pastor. In this role, he will be establishing Restore’s spiritual transformation model while networking people into discipling relationships that promote spiritual transformation. He will be working with both pre-Christians who we meet through Enrich NOVA (www.enrichnova.com) and Christians who are part of Restore (www.restorenova.com) while helping to equip leaders in their relationships, passions, and gifts.

I am extremely excited for Aaron to join Restore’s pastoral team, and his family (Jen, Elizabeth – 5, and Charlie – 3) to become part of Restore’s family. I look forward to all God is going to do to change pre-Christians’ and Christians’ lives through the Box family.

Because Restore is a new church that goes public September 20, 2009, Aaron is needing to raise 50% of his salary this year and 75% of his salary next year.

Please join with us in supporting them both prayerfully and financially in fulfilling God’s mission. For more information on this contact Aaron at aaronbox.home@gmail.com.

NO Church Building!

church2“If Restore isn’t going to have permanent church building, then what are you going to do with all the extra money?” This question was possed by an influential community member and friend. I imagine others may be wondering too.

It’s simple. By not investing in a building, we afford ourselves the opportunity to unleash kindness by meeting peoples needs in real and tangible ways. The Bible says in Romans chapter 2, verse 4 that the kindness of God leads people to repentance. This just makes sense. God’s love is expressed through our generosity and kindness. And leads people to a right relationship with God. We believe it is more important to put our faith in action by loving people, than by building buildings.

By not investing money in a building, we avail ourselves to invest in what is eternal – people. On one occasion, Jesus’ “‘disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God.’ But Jesus said, “‘As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down'” (Luke 21:5,6 NIV). We believe there is greater value investing in what is relational, spiritual, and eternal than in what is material.

God’s resources are to be used to meet the needs of the people He loves. And through His love, we live His mission by working with Jesus to restore people to a right relationship with God and others.

Now for my disclaimer. Some churches have mastered how to shout out Jesus’ and His love through the use of their building. I applaud these churches.

Helping a Single Mom

momBeing a single mom is difficult enough. Add to it a toxic living environment and now there is crisis.

On Saturday, a caring team of people from Restore Community Church and Enrich NOVA joined together to physically move Mary – a single mom in crisis to a place of peace in a new apartment.

This is what it means to be the church and live God’s love.

The next day, she and her daughter joined us at church and then to one of our launch team member’s homes for lunch.

Here is what Mary wrote about this expression of love…

I want to extend a heartfelt thank you for all of your help with Olivia and my move. I am very grateful that you took time from all of your busy schedules to facilitate us in our need for support. You all worked so hard and we so very much appreciate  the amazing job you  did. You have all helped us to restore our  lives to a peaceful, loving, and warm home that will serve as a refuge  to grow in faith and love. Please understand that I am overwhelmed in my heart  and my spirit is uplifted with all you all have done under such difficult times with this situation. Again Thank you all so very much.

The Real Missional

missionalsWhat does it really mean to be missional?

Jake Nelson of Response Church in Indy reclaims to heart of missional. The following excerpt is from his May 13, 2009 post at http://responsechurch.com/.

In my thought process…, missional church means being completely irresponsible.  It means valuing the kingdom over the local church.  It means investing continually in those who won’t meet your 15 bucks a head offering ratio.  It means going for broke as the woman in Bible did by placing her last two coins in the offering.  Missional means declaring the name of Jesus not my congregation.  It means addressing REAL issues like poverty, abuse, hopelessness, and reconciliation.  It plays itself out by mentoring, instilling hope, and most importantly, introducing people to a Jesus that sees value in what the world views as worthless. 

A bottle of water or a free cup of coffee is easy.  It’s a good place to start, but not necessarily redemptive. 

Missional means being bold.  It means being messy.  In its very nature, its goal is to accomplish a “mission.” 

I wonder if some people have forgotten how to dream big, attack huge issues in reckless abandon, depending on God’s power and vision all along the way.  Many use “we can’t” as an excuse to not try rather than a reminder that GOD CAN!  It’s a long, tough and oftentimes treacherous road.  One that I probably haven’t even seen a glimpse of the whole picture.  It’s rewards look different than we are used to.  Missional requires us to let go of ourselves and see everyone else as better.  But it sure is amazing when embraced. 

Dream big. Be irresponsible. See the mission through. See the world change.