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.

Pre-script Your Life Story

Take a long look at a new 2012 calendar. Let the realities of 2012 sink in. What do you see? An open schedule? Opportunity? Excitement? Fulfilled dreams? An unwritten story?

It is likely you have only a few days accounted for in 2012 with vacation or meetings. This leaves you a few hundred blank days to write the story of your life. Think about that… YOU get to write your life story!

What story is your calendar going to tell about you 12 months from now? Will you be out of debt? Will you have obtained financial margin? Will you generously meet the needs of others? Will your generosity, compassion, and love write you into the story of a neighbor or stranger’s life? Will you have given your children positive memories? Will your spouse be passionately in love with you? Will you be eating better and living healthier? Will you have a job you love?

What are your dreams? What are the deepest desires of your heart; your core longings? What story do you want your calendar to tell by the end of 2012?

The course of our lives should flow from our desires. When we delight in God, His desires, become our desires. And God longs to give us the desires of our hearts when they align with His desires for us.

“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this….” (Psalms 37:4-6)

Pre-script your life story for 2012. Take an hour this week, in a quiet place, and ask God to give you the desires of His heart. As dreams and desires come to mind, write them down. Then go back to each idea and write a plan for accomplishing your desire. Some of your dreams will not be able to be accomplished on their own… it will take God’s intervention for them to become reality.

Now for the best part, commit your desires to God daily, begin working the plans you wrote, and see what God does in 2012. The story will be amazing!

“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” (Proverbs 16:3)

4 Spiritual Positions

What is your spiriutal position in relation to God?

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

Why did Jesus have to die?

What did Jesus have to die? Why couldn’t he have just turned more water into wine? Or healed another person? Or just choose to forgive our sin? Why did He have to die?

I have wrestled with these questions as I seek to help others understand Jesus’ death and resurrection. Sure, I can logically deduct this. And even explain the rational for Jesus death and resurrection from the Bible. But how can I communicate the answer to these questions in a way that people get it? How can I communicate the significance of God’s sacrifice in a way that people feel it? That is a whole other challenge.

To answer this question, I believe we must first understand some basic assumptions.

1) God takes our sin a whole lot more seriously than we do. Whether we lie and call it a “white” lie. Whether we justify personal expenses on the corporate credit card as… “I’m not paid enough.” We constantly minimize our sin. We try to make it less than what it is, or we justify it way. But God doesn’t. God takes our sin so seriously that before the first sin was committed, He prescribed death as the punish for sin. Our sin is so serious to God that it requires death. God set the rules before the first sin was committed. And God lives by His rules.

2) Even though not all of God’s children have received His invitation to be part of His family, we must understand that both pre-Christians and Christians are children of God. God love’s all of his children. And is willing to do anything to prevent them from dying and being separated from Him for eternity.

Recently, my kids and their cousins were sword fighting in my back yard with pool noodles stuffed over PVC pipes. My son  watched this battle unfold when his unarmed sister took several cheap shots from her cousin. Immediately my son caulked his fits, got into an offensive Tae Kwon Do stance, started moving toward his cousin, and with a forceful and raised voice, definitively told his cousin… “If you hit my sister again you’re going to get hurt!”

I have a confession to make… my son got this from me.

If anyone tries to hurt my kids, I will do everything in my power to take them out even if that means die. And this response is natural. It is part of the survival of the fittest. It is a theme of creation.

Not long ago, I was spreading the branches of a bush to look at a nest of baby birds. I ignored the squawking parents in perched above in the tree until they started dive bombing me. These birds were crazy. They wouldn’t stop. And I quickly withdrew my position. The parent birds risked their lives to preserve the lives of their children.

We see this play itself out in all of creation – parents willing to sacrifice, even die, for the preservation, protection, and sustained life of their children.

God is the source of the natural phenomenon. This response is birthed from God’s nature. And is inborn at creation.

But God’s love for us for us is so great, that as the author of life, he wrote himself into the story of our lives in the character of man named Jesus. God came to earth as a man named Jesus and chose to satisfy the consequence for our sin by dying. God came to earth, as Jesus, to preserve and protect our lives by risking everything and dying. Through death, God satisfies, the punish for the sin of all humanity. And then proves His power and authority over death in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Jesus can do this because he is both God and man. Because of Jesus death we don’t have to live separated from God. Jesus can forgive us because he satisfies the consequences of our sin through his death and resurrection.

The question is… as children of God, will we receive the forgiveness that God offers through his death? By accepting God’s forgiveness through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we enter into God’s family.

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.

Making Disciples vs Holding Services

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Writer and speaker Raulph Moore has posted a thought provoking article titled “Making Disciples vs Holding Services”. Great discusion piece for church planters. Here is his article.

Did you ever notice that nowhere in scripture tells us to plant churches? 

Someone in a recent pastor’s conference told me that. They were somehow opposed to the idea of multiplying the church–but they were right in their observation. 

They went on to state that Jesus only told us to make disciples–right again.

However, he told us to make disciples of all nations. You have to decide if he meant make “a few disciples in every nation.” Or did he, “make disciples of the nations surrounding Israel” as was done in the first century? Or, as I believe, did he mean to “disciple all the nations of earth into his kingdom.”

But back to our original thought. He never said to plant churches. In fact, nothing in the Bible tells us to hold a single church service. It is all implied throughout Acts and in the epistles. We learn church by example rather than by command. 

But, here is my problem… Most of us believe in planting churches and we all believe in holding church services. Why is it that so few of us are actively, agressively involved in disciplemaking? 

We talk about making disciples as though it was happening all around us. But it isn’t. Sure we have a few programs, etc. But when you compare our ability to hold church meetings with the direct command to make disciples we appear weak.

Here is the question, “Who are your three personal disciples?” Another might be, “Do they even know that they are your disciples?”

Meeting Intrinsic Needs

serving-handsOne of the greatest intrinsic needs of people is to be needed. This is why Lana is more excited to serve with us than she is to receive from us. It is why when I asked a homeless man in our community what he needs, he told me, “My greatest need is to be needed.”

In John 10:10, Jesus states, “I have come to give you life and life to the full.” I believe a key component of life to the full is meeting the needs of others – regardless of what we do or do not have. In fact, Paul states that we are to keep our spiritual excitement serving God – Romans 12:11. This leads me to the conclusion that one of the best ways to disciple others is to lead them to serve others out of their spiritual gifts. Service is a dynamic classroom for spiritual growth.