Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lent: Day 1

 I am starting a journey in picture and word.  Everyday during Lent 2015 I will be taking a picture that is a visual depiction of a word.  Each word that is used comes from a list provided by Rethink Church, a United Methodist program.  You can follow my journey here on this page and by following me (toprocklife) on Instagram.

Day 1 (2/18/15):

I am dust.  Out of the dry and dirty earth I was formed into being.  Yet I was made in God's own image.  Images hold power because they often show what words cannot explain but words, especially those of the Bible, give us a foundation for understanding.

Lenten Journey

So what cool thing are you doing this year?  Doing the 'give up sweets or chocolate' thing or are you a person that is willing to give up Facebook? If not, are you still searching for that thing that will make Lent a great spiritual journey?  Are you wondering what the future of your church will look like? If yes, then what you need to do is listen.  Listen to your family, listen to your church family, listen to your community.

In the Church world, we call listening to your community as "community exegesis".  Imagine a world where people were in tune with what is happening around them.  Imagine a world that people took on the causes of their neighborhood.  Imagine a world where people worked together and fought to reduce the blights that bring down wholeness within our schools, churches and homes.  Community exegesis is the avenue for us to find out what we have been doing wrong or what we have ignored and it also points out what God is already up to on our streets and in our neighborhoods.

During Lent this year, you should give up your idea of what your community is and start from scratch.  Preconceived notions of stereotypes and generalizations are what builds barriers and that needs to stop. Listen for these things happening around you, listen for what needs done, listen to your community and find out where you, your family and your church fits in to the puzzle.

Prayer walks, knocking on a neighbor's door, sitting in a coffee shop (while not playing on your phone) or attending an event at the library are all great ways for us to step outside our normal life and see what is happening around us.  During Lent we can be witnesses to things that need fixed in our community and we can witness what is doing well within our towns.

So in this Lenten season, listen.

For a great Lenten devotional, the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary has a great resource.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Southeast Asia Mission Trip - Preview


In two short weeks I will be on a plane with my destination being half-way around the world. As an introduction into the world of cross-cultural missions, I am joining a group of individuals traveling from the World Mission Initiative at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary to warmer climates to witness in the work of the Spirit.  We call this a mission trip but we are not going to evangelize to the non-Christian, build orphanages or give them anything material but we are going to learn, teach and encourage believers of Christ.

Our two weeks will be spent visiting Christians throughout the southern regions of the country.  Visiting this country will be a great task for me as I only have a few word vocabulary and know the bare minimum of the culture.  I do, however, look forward to the food because I am an adventurous eater.

In our time together, I hope to grow in relationship with those I am traveling with but I also would like to build lasting relationships with the people we meet in country.  This is why we go on these trips; we are there to strengthen the Church and grow in our witness.

Please pray for us as we travel and pray that we become better disciples through this experience.  I will keep this blog updated as often as I can when overseas and I will give a grand report when we return.

Blessings and peace,