Sunday, September 30, 2012

31 Days of Missional Living

It's been a year since this blog went public. Last year I began it by writing 31 Days of Intentional Living. Along that same vein I will write about living missionally for the next 31 days. "Missional" has become a buzz word in most Christian circles.  So much so that it's meaning has become muddied and obscure. For the sake of our time here I'll use missional to mean living "sent" or as a missionary within your current context.

My hope is to give you some easy and practical tips for living missionally. I'll give you some specific things to apply to your life and I'll even challenge myself from time to time. My hope is that you'll see fulfilling the Great Commission where you live is pretty simple and often only requires you to maximize what you're already doing. This doesn't mean it won't be challenging or require sacrifice. But contrary to what you may believe, missional living isn't rocket science.

If you're going to join me for 31 Days of Missional living please let me know in the comments below so we can encourage each other along the way. It's going to be a great month and I pray God will work through you to draw others to himself over the next 31 days.

Be sure to check out the other 31 Dayers and check back here where my entire 31 Days series will be posted:

Day 2: Meet Your Neighbors
Day 4: You Might Think I'm Crazy 
Day 5: Successfully Inviting Neighbors to Your Event 
Day 6: Do Hard Things
Day 7: The Most Important Thing
Day 8: In The City
Day 9: Do What You Love 
Day 10: Discovering Your Third Place
Day 11: Know Your City To Love Your City 
Day 12: When Mission Is Hard 
Day 13: An Asissignment 
Day 14: Faithfulness in Prayer 
Day 15: Resources 
Day 16: From Obedience to Love 
Day 17: Just Listen 
Day 18: You Need Community 
Day 19: Create Margin
Day 20: Worship for the City 
Day 21: Prayer for His Strength  
Day 22: Community Is Good For The Soul 
Day 23: Gospel Centered Among Believers  
Day 24: When Your Neighborhood Is Changing 
Day 25: Being Missional In The Present
Day 26: A Wife On Mission, Part 1
Day 27: A Wife On Mission, Part 2
Day 28: Pray for Opportunities 
Day 29: Share Stories 
Day 30: Ought-Is-Can-Will 
Day 31: Missional on Halloween  
Conclusion: Missional Living is Easy

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Longing Fullfilled

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life." Proverbs 13:12

It was sometime in 2007 that three of us started talking about planting a church in Downtown Orlando. Then in 2008 there were only two of us. Towards the end of 2008 we knew we were going to move Downtown and started visiting the city regularly to learn the culture and make connections. In July 2009 we moved to Downtown. Thus began three long years.

The last three years have included a roller coaster of emotions, many changes to our plans, and trauma and pain of all sorts. After so much longing and waiting, we are here. Finally we are part of a core group to see a church planted in Downtown Orlando. I'm so excited and I can hardly believe that the vision God set in our hearts years ago is coming to fruition. 

Church planting is one of the most difficult callings in the world. The spiritual warfare alone is enough to cripple even the most mature believer. Oftentimes it does just that and takes whole families and communities with it. This is not a reality we are unaware of but we find the possibility of how God can transform a city outweighs our fears.

Are you longing for something right now? Perhaps you have the ache for a child and empty arms. Maybe you want to see a spouse delivered from sexual addiction. Maybe you need to be set free from a food/chemical/emotional addiction. My advice for you? Hold on. It will not be easy. Hold on. Many days you'll want to give up. Hold on. Oftentimes the weight of your longing may threaten to overwhelm you. Hold on. 

As one who is currently in the "already, not yet" season of seeing one longing fulfilled while others still hang in the balance, I understand how you feel. Know you are not alone and that's God's desire is for your good and His glory. It is coming. For now, hold on.  

"Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm." Ephesians 6:13

Friday, September 7, 2012

I'm Rich (And Chances Are Your Are Too)

I'm one of the people who received their copy of Jen Hatmaker's 7 free from the Bloom Book Club. I genuinely couldn't afford to spend money on the book. My husband left his job with the hopes of starting a new business and finding a less stressful job in the meantime. It's been about six months and the business is still getting off the ground and that job he hoped to find to get us through this entrepreneurial season has been illusive.

Our income has been cut in half and I work for a non-profit so you do the math. Even with all the cutbacks we've made we still bring in less than what is needed to cover our essential bills. Over the past several months this series of events has lead me to think of our family in an ugly light. As poor. My thought process has gone something like this: "We can't pay our bills; we must be poor. We can't go out to eat or say yes to every invitation for coffee; we must be poor. We can't buy whatever we want, whenever we want it; we must be poor."

A few weeks ago in staff prayer time one of my co-workers reminded us that as Americans no matter how bleak our financial situation we will always be rich compared to the world's poor. Jen echoes his sentiment:

"The day I am unaware of my privileges and unmoved by my greed is the day something has to change."

It is true. I have never gone without food and I probably never will. I have a cell phone and a nice home stocked with almost everything I could ever need.I don't have all the clothes I want but I have more than enough to meet my needs.

As an American, by definition, you are probably in a similar boat. Sure we have truly poor people in America but they are rarities and oftentimes blessed compared to the world's poor. We are rich. Let us not take God's many blessings for granted by holding ourselves against some standard of the American dream. Instead let us live as blessed people who are thankful because they've been made rich by being adopted into the family of God. In Him we have everything we will ever need.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Know Your City, Part 2

Photo Credit

Previously we discussed the importance of knowing your city for church planting and ministry success. Below are some practical ways to start on that journey if you haven't already:

  1. Think of your City in Spheres: Government, Business, Entertainment, etc. Then ask yourself how well you understand the specifics of each sphere. Work on the areas where you draw a blank.
  2. Go Where People Are: One of the best ways to know your city is to go where the people are and get to know them. Perhaps that includes a pool hall, comedy club, museum, coffee house, restaurant, or bar. Figure out where your target demographic hangs out and join them there. 
  3. Network in Real Life: This means going beyond Facebook and Twitter.  Join the Chamber of Commerce or Rotary. Have a small business? There are lots of networks that meet regularly for small business networking. Are you into organic living? Go to the same farmer's market every week. You could even go old-school style and join a bowling league.
  4. Get Outside: Take walks and bike rides. Sit on your front porch or in your front yard. Let an afternoon or evening pass by on the porch of a local cafe'. Chances are if you're outside in your community you'll have more opportunities to interact with people and thus get to know your city better.
  5. Ask Questions & Listen: People like to talk. I've found in most situations if you listen long enough folks will tell you why they believe the way they do, are opposed to the church, and have so much pain in their life. If you ask questions be sure you listen intently and are ready for the hard answers.
Do you have any tips for getting to know your city? What has worked for you?

(Be sure to read the first post about knowing your city here.)