Archive for July, 2004

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Q & A with Erwin McManus

July 27, 2004

If there was one Monday night intern meeting we were all stoked about this was it. It was the meeting to end all meetings. Three hours of Q and A with Erwin. Here are some of my notes. The discussion was way faster than we all could write. Knowing that beforehand, we video taped it. So I will also have an audio CD of it and a DVD. For now, here are the notes from my journal:

CHALLENGES HE IS FACING RIGHT NOW IN MINISTRY

“I live for challenges.”
logistics
his approach to ministry is always a positive and not a long-term risk to the Mosaic community
planting churches in every major city in the world
changing what Christians are known for

PERSONAL SPIRITUAL VIBRANCY

“I spend an immense amount of time in my imagination.”
an ongoing conversation with God
“I know who you are by what you accomplish, not by what you think.”

WHAT WOULD MOSAIC BE WITHOUT YOU?

a classic/normal contemporary church
“Mosaic is not reactionary to the modern church, I am.”

PREACHING

what does this passage say about the character of God? humanity?
preaching should change the way you see reality
“I heard God say, ‘If you preach, I’ll meet you there.'”
create a language that makes sense to people without God
“More than anything else, serve people with humility.”
“Earn the right to be heard wherever you go.”
“Listen, a lot, to people who are not committed to you.”
“Listen to voices that are shaping people’s thinking.”

MORALITY

an action that causes a human being to be healthy
immorality is that which causes a human being to be unhealthy

LIFE

“People who look rich usually aren’t.”
“We can live deep and exciting lives.”
“Fill your heart and mind with truths from the Scriptures.”
“Christianity is all about connecting to the heart of God.”
“If you don’t ask questions or have questions you’ve shut off your brain; if you don’t have doubts you’re not asking deep enough questions; the more you walk with God the more questions you have.”
“You cannot allow Satan to speak into your life and tell you that you are going to have a hand-me-down life.” (to a girl around my age who has already been divorced)
“You cannot live out the Scriptures outside of biblical community.”
“Who in the world can your heart break for?”
“Tragedies of the past can make you think you have no right to enjoy life.”
“If you have caused the tragedy, you must make restitution.”
“Positive experiences create new memories.”
“The church does not exist for believers. We are the church, and we exist for the world.”

TO ME IN RESONSE TO THE QUESTION OF BEING OVERWHELMED BY THE PROSPECT OF CHANGING THE WORLD

It’s good that you want to change the world. Don’t lose that. You are in like 1% of the population who wakes up and wants to change the world.
“Don’t grow old.”
“Don’t short change any one act of faithfulness.”
“Change the world somewhere. Start somewhere.”

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Fire in the Right Direction

July 25, 2004

One of the best sermons I’ve ever heard:

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

James 4:1-12

-we don’t know how to have meaningful conflict and still be on the same side
-we have to fight the right enemy and fight for the right cause
-the more you understand who you are the higher the risk can be that you will creat conflict
-do you keep wanting things that destroy you?
-God will not join you, you have to join him
-we want God to meet our desires instead of changing our desires
-the world James is talking about is inside of us, not outside of us; James says nothing about the outside world
-God gets involved when we cry out in desperation, but that isn’t the way to live a healthy life
-sin equals everything that demeans the character of God and who you were created to be
-one of the problems with Christians is we don’t love anyone in the world out there
-people are not the enemy, people are the treasure
-YOU HAVE TO WIN THE COSMIC CONFLICT INSIDE OF YOUR SOUL
-when you make God the ultimate object of your desires, God changes your desires and meets them
-PROACTIVE ACTION: submit, resist, draw near, cleanse, purify, change, humble yourself, do not speak evil (4-11)
-the person who waits for God to do a miracle rarely sees it, but the person who moves with proactive action sees more of God’s miraculous intervention
-one reason we don’t invite God into our lives is because we are doing and desiring things he’s not pleased with
-humility is an inclination towards “yes”
-do not ask for clarity in the future until you can walk wth clarity in the present

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Adventures in Babysitting

July 21, 2004

Once a month, Mosaic has a meeting at the McManus’s that they call Life in Church. This is one of the steps in becoming volunteer staff at Mosaic (aka. membership). All of the interns have been privileged to go and find out more about Mosaic’s core values and mission. Last night was Josh and Elizabeth’s turn to go, and Josh asked me to babysit……………….[moment of silence for that to sink in and for you to laugh]. Josh and Elizabeth have two daughters, Gracie (2) and Ellie (1). You can find them in the picture below. Now, normally I am good at turning down offers to babysit, and if any of you have seen me around children, you know it is probably for the best that I do. There is just something about saying “no” to a couple who has packed up there comfortable life in Ft. Wayne and moved for 10 weeks to LA with their two small children to live in housing that changes every two or three weeks all for the sake of moving to Nashville and starting a church. So I said yes. I arrived at Eric’s house, where they are staying for anther week, about 5:00 pm and the adventure begins. As I was finishing making our pasta for dinner, Gracie was walked into the backyard and fell on the steps on her way out the door. I suppose what happened is what normally happens, there was crying and a scraped knee that I was certainly not aloud to touch, rub or clean in any way, shape or form. So I dealt with that for all of 15 minutes before I called Elizabeth to get the scoop on what to do. She told me where the ouch-less cleaner was and just to clean it anyway…right. Clean it anyway, which I knew, but had no desire to do. So, we got it cleaned out the best we could without me having to be to forceful. After everything was fine, we settle in to eat our pasta, which went well, execpt for Gracie saying “I don’t know how to eat this.” “I don’t know this”. What does that mean? You eat it like you eat anything else. Eventually she ate when we went outside. So we played outside for awhile, swinging, writing with sidewalk chalk and going for a ride in the wagon. Later we ended up inside for a round of Barney and half of Shrek, complete with fruit snacks. There is a reason I have not yet mentioned Ellie. She’s low maintainace, laid back and content with keeping herself occupied. I love this kid. I could hang out for hours with her. Bedtime for Ellie was a little different story though. When I was putting her in her bed, she cried and it was clear she didn’t want to go. Apparently this is a common thing with children. I have no problem going to bed in the middle of the day. Anyway, as I was putting her in bed, the first time, the side of her crib was too high for my 5’3″ body to comfortably put her down in there, so I might have hit her head little hard while I was laying her down. Needless to say I felt horrible because it was totally my fault, so I took her back out to the living room for more Shrek and then tried again. Although there was no head banging, there was crying, loudly. So I took her out again and sat with her in the rocking chair. Apparently, you just put kids in bed and let them cry until they fall asleep. However, as one who lives with a constantly crying baby, I was not about to have crying if I didn’t have to. So I tried to put her down again, and then one more time and all was well. That is until there was the changing of Gracie’s pull-up, which was full of a less than thrilling item. I shall end there, for fear that I will make my own self vomit, simply by reliving the moment.

Some final thoughts:

-Jesus loved children, so I will love them too
-diapers are trickier than they look
-being completely responsible for the growth, health and development of another human being, toughest job ever
-Barney can be slightly entertaining
– watching kids is rewarding, but I don’t think I’ll make a habit of it
-“Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the Kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Luke 18:16-17

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In Memory of Jen

July 20, 2004

Occured to me the other day
You’ve been gone now a couple years
well, I guess it takes while
For someone to really disappear
I remember where I was
When the word came about you
It was a day much like today
the sky was bright, and wide, and blue

And I wonder where you are
And if the pain ends when you die
And I wonder if there was
Some better way to say goodbye

Today my heart is big and sore
it’s tryin’ to push right through my skin
I won’t see you anymore
I guess that’s finally sinkin’ in
‘Cause you can’t make somebody see
By the simple words you say
All their beauty from within
Sometimes they just look away

And I wonder where you are
And if the pain ends when you die
And I wonder if there was
Some better way to say goodbye

-Patty Griffin [Goodbye] (Patty usually says it best)

“Take heart. I have overcome the world.”

-Jesus

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Let’s Say It’s Official

July 19, 2004

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the possiblity of being involved in starting Mosaic Nashville, and the weeks since the possibility arose have been filled with much thought and excitement about what potentially lies ahead in my near future. After telling people for weeks around here that MAYBE I was going to Nashville, I finally conceded that all of them were right: I was already there. Since I was asked to think about joining the effort, many of the interns and staff have seen my excitement at the possibility of not only living in Nashville for a time, but also of starting a community from the ground up. So this is the official announcement, I guess. I will be moving to Nashville, Tennessee in middle to late September, tentatively. Life is and will always be tentative. We fool ourselves if we think otherwise. I will not be a paid staff person, but will be getting a job in the area, whether that begins as a job at Starbucks or not, I don’t know. I’m applying for a job at the Christian division of Time Warner Books as an editorial assistant, a job I’m not quite qualified for but I think I could do well. Merissa, one of the interns here has a friend that lives in Nashville and does PR work for the Gaylord Entertainment Group (they own the Grand Ole Opry, the Opryland Hotel and many other entertainment venues). Merissa got in touch with her and told her I might be coming out there, and if so what were the chances of me moving in with her. She lives in a 2 bedroom apartment by herself and said she would love a roommate. So housing is already set up for me if I so choose to live there.

It has been great to talk to Josh and Elisabeth, a couple who is interning at Mosaic to learn all they can about starting Mosaic Nashville. They are from Ft. Wayne and have been working at a church there for a few years. Josh heard Erwin speak in Chicago last summer, read An Unstoppable Force in the fall, went to the Youth Specialties Conference in St. Louis (where he heard Erwin again), and longing to learn how to create “an unstoppable force” he and Elisabeth found themselves putting their house on the market and traveling across the country with their one and a half, and three year old daughters. If you take away the spouse and the children and the putting the house on the market part, and replace Chicago with Minneapolis, you are reading my exact story. Our vision and our hope for the church is the same, and it has been great to talk to them and share ideas, dreams and the excitement of being given the opportunity to have God impact an entire city through our lives.

Hopefully, soon, I wll be able to talk to John Ferguson, who is the leader of this operation. He may be coming to Los Angeles soon to meet with Josh and Elisabeth, Mike, Myself, and another couple from Seattle that might be joining us as musicians. Josh White (the guy from Seattle) is a part of a Christian band called Telecast. I’ve never heard of them, but I don’t listen to a lot of mainstream Christian music, so I don’t know how popular they are. Let me know if you’ve heard of them.

My time here is growing shorter. Three and a half weeks until I find myself back in the ‘ville for a time. Yesterday, while running the camera in the morning services it occured to me that I’m really going to miss being a part of this great thing that is happening here. I’ve been spoiled by hearing Erwin McManus speak every Sunday and by being able to interact with the staff members here. But that is the experience I signed up for. I’m in school again, and school always comes to an end. So, I’ve added more people to my growing collection of acquaintances and am moving on once again, this time to something a little more permanant. I’m ready for something more permanant, too. Something I can give myself and my life to for a substantial amount of time. It is an exciting time to be a Christian.

“and you are Christ’s and Christ is God’s.” -1 Corinthians 3:23

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A Note

July 19, 2004

As I’m catching up on some writing, I thought I would just write a side note in here.

I have been up since 9:30 this morning. Awakened by a 7th month old baby who was/is (whatever) colic. It is a daily occurance, sometimes earlier, sometimes later. She has been SCREAMING since and it is now 12:00 pm. This has been pretty much non-stop this morning. I mean she has been screaming like a banshee! And I now know why people shake their babies. I’m not saying it’s right. I’m just saying I now know why. That’s all I wanted to say.

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Keep Your Head Up

July 18, 2004

James 3:13-18

“Who is wise and understainding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

-you were not supposed to die dumber than you were born
-by keeping your head up, focused on wisdom from above, you can stop letting people down
-when peopel enter into your life, do they come out a better person or a more broken person?

2 Kinds of Wisdom:

1. Earthly, selfish wisdom

-using people for your own benefit
-ambition is natural and good, selfish ambition puts our own good above the good of others
-every time you are motivated by selfish ambition you will devistate those around you and those you love the most

2. Heavenly, godly wisdom

-you can measure your wisdom by the number of healthy relationships and friendships that are around you
-we intuitively know that wisdom is about creating healthy relationships
-people who risk trusting you with their lives, those people who are honest and intimate with you, are they better off for having known you or do they leave more broken?

-when you don’t keep your head up, you let those you love most down
-treat people as those who have the highest value of all things
-wisdom sees the implications of the choices we make; what goes around comes around; you reap what you sow
-YOU CAN SEE THE FUTURE BUT YOU HAVE TO WANT TO; CREATE YOUR FUTURE THROUGH WISE CHOICES