Thursday, June 18, 2009

Follow me here

Over the summer, we are reading the TK (Tangible Kingdom) Primer as a church.
Follow this interesting look at Missional "Sent"ness as our church body BLOGs daily.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I’ve been told recently, you and Jenny just meet people so easily….we just don’t know where to start, what to say, how to act…..
Well, truth be known….I still get nervous meeting new people, but it does get easier with practice. I don’t want to be too goofy, too serious….just natural….whatever that means. I don’t wanna say the wrong thing, give the wrong impression or get all “spiritual” too early….when they ask what I do. I just want them to get to know me and me them.
This weeks action is to imagine Jesus taking you somewhere….and it might be to a neighbor’s home, who you have lived next door to for years…and now it might be awkward to just start talking to him or her. Well yeah….if you just bust right out with….”hey you are part of this project, and ummmmm…Jesus said…ummmm……”
They might be older…or younger, or different ethnicity, or religion….but you have some commonalities….if you pay attention. Pets, cars, flowers, children/grandchildren, your homes, time of day you water, music, possibly talk about a third neighbor you don’t know…ask what they know about him/her, these are all great things to start talking about. Just have a conversation….and string it together with another conversation, then another. No rush…no agenda, God’s got this.
Great example for this for me personally….is the Sheltons. We had girls on the same basketball team….and boy the same age. Perfect! We weren’t out to “get them to come to church” or “tell them about Jesus”. We just wanted to become friends.
Crazy things about friends is though…..when you are friends, the things that are important to you, become important to them…and visa versa. Seriously, I would have never been to Camp Ben McCollough and pitched washers, watched Texas A&M basketball or football, or met Shane Phillips or Richard Taylor or all the 10 plus guys we play poker with, had it not been for the Sheltons. And they, in turn, became curious about our church, our friends, our Serve Austin Sunday and Restore Communinty.
I think I know the problem for most people….and I’ve heard this…people don’t really want anymore friends. People don’t feel they can emotionally invest in another relationship. I don’t know how to get anyone over this….but to tell you….too bad. God didn’t give us that option.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tangible Touches

I guess I must write down this “example” only because it is so fresh, so real and hit me between the eyes tonight.
Those in our Restore Community know Bob and Juanna Reilly. They have met and recently taken in a man dying of cancer. They met him through another sweet lady (Mary Beth) in our Restore Community who is a hospice care-giver.
Well when I read about the immersions….I was struck at how this man (not a believer) was immersed in the blessings (or tangible touches of God) through these two families. Not many people would take a man into their home, only knowing him for 3 weeks, let alone a dying man, who by all accounts was difficult and mean. Yet the Reilly’s showed him love when he could offer them nothing. This touch softened this man’s heart.
In God’s sovereignty and his timing this man of 66 years lay dying in the breakfast room…in a make-shift hospital room, as Brandon and I prayed for him in the next room. We had been called to the house, as Juanna ran some errands…to possibly be with him as he died. We prayed for God to allow him to hear us and respond to the Gospel….or to just mercifully end his suffering.
This man, in the next few moments….sat up in bed and began talking….why did this shock us? Then, God moved in this man’s heart, to accept the gift of salvation that is available to all of us…oh my!
Over the last couple of hours….this has grown increasingly incredible to me. Its not always what we say…’s how we live and how we give those “tangible touches”.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Living 'missionally' or SENT is definitely an aspect of life that is both old and new for me. Having been 'called' to live on mission, before I really knew what that meant....Jenny and I basically served as best we could where God placed us.
You guys have got to know…that we have always been comfortable having people over, live with us, serving in one capacity or another….whether it was with youth, young adults, small groups ministry….but living ‘missionally’
has invaded and stretched us in ways that I didn’t think possible.
Invaded sounds kinda harsh…unwanted…but it was a new world to think that God not only called us to serve people who live like we do, in the same areas of town that we do, and go to the same schools or the same church….but he has called us to serve beyond our own little world… His.
When we responded to his call to live ‘missionally’ beyond our realm….we found life and love greater than we had ever experienced. When we trusted that when we “served the least” we WERE serving our Savior himself….we found joy that nourishes our souls.
As we begin this journey through the TK Primer…my prayer is that we can lay down the religious ‘baggage’ we bring in. We might not even realize we are carrying any. But I have heard some form of this conversation….. “I have been serving as hard as I can serve, attending church whenever the doors are open, I am a deacon or church volunteer of the decade….I have done every Beth Moore Precept study there is to do…and deep down I just know…there must be something more.”
Through living on mission….we will find….there is.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Daniel 11 - Time

Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.

A couple of verses came to mind as I read this passage. When I think about prophesies of end times or end of seasons I rest in the fact that none of this catches God off guard. And who better to rely on, put your faith in or trust in…..because none of knows the “appointed time” or the when the “time of the end” will come, except the one who set it all in motion.

Psalm 121:1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from?
1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

Christ even tells us in Acts that "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.
I am really thinking about Mr. Nichols who has been placed in our lives through our connection with Mary Beth Ryan in our Restore Community. He has been overtaken by cancer…and even today….our neighbor Juana Reilly is driving Mr. Nichols to her home. The Riley’s have opened their hearts and their home to a man they never knew prior to a few short weeks ago.

He is not a believer, and has maybe just a few days left…but they are showing Christ’s love to man, who by all accounts has been difficult to deal with and mad. But his heart has softened and he has agreed to come home with the Reilly’s where he will most likely spend his last days.

He weighs 88 pounds and according to Juanna has lost 7 pound in the last week. But in all that….he doesn’t and we don’t know when he will draw his last breath…..but God does.

Let’s pray together that this is Mr. Nichols "appointed time" and that he is touched by the Kingdom and God as it is poured the Reillys, Mary Beth and the rest of the ANC Restore Community. Pray that he will respond as we hope. But whether he does or not… God will glorify himself through this, no doubt.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Daniel 10 - Swagger

Daniel 10 – Swagger
A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. He said, "Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you." And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling.
In this vision (apparently his last of the book) Jesus stands before Daniel, and he is so overcome with terror…that he is overwhelmed and can no longer speak, stand or look. Daniel….who stood up to Nebuchadnezzar, thrown in a den of lions…now is terrified before the Lord.
And here we are….sinners…that the only thing that saves us is the Grace of God…and we have some sort of self-righteous swagger.
I am reminded of when I signed on to play football at the University of Alabama….and I showed up for “voluntary workouts” in the summer. I seriously am walking in, in the best shape of my life….with a bunch of “lesser” athletes to a “voluntary” workout, how hard could this be? Right guys?
Day one, they had us report straight to the Track Field…..hey ran us so hard, so long, so many times that I felt that my heart would explode, my lungs would collapse, my legs would literally feel less pain if I would run over them with a car…I can honestly say…that is the day I lost my “swagger”. Day One…..done. Day two, after experiencing to the reality of my fate… main thoughts were on survival.
Do we not get it….because we aren’t really experiencing God? I pray that we would continually find ourselves in the position Daniel found himself in…face to the ground.