Experiment! Because Certainty is an Illusion

From Fresh Expressions:

One may bristle at the thought of experimenting in ministry, as it defies the certainty we so often want to bring into new efforts. New effort means new investments of every sort. When faced with the prospect of generating new or redirecting existing resources towards new ministry efforts the risk of failure, for many, is too costly unless we approach the endeavor with a degree of certainty that it will “work.”

The problem is certainty is an illusion.

Hospitality Is Hard. Dustin Willis Makes it Simple

We aren’t as hospitable as, perhaps, we should be. I found these words from Willis from his post, How To Use Your Home for Hospitality, challenging, yet showing me a way.

Plan for it. My wife and I struggled for a long season to be hospitable. Our tendency was to just have the same people over, because it was what was comfortable for us. We finally had to put it into our budget and onto our calendar and in due time it became a regular rhythm in which we lived. I will keep it simple. Put it in your budget and plug it into your calendar and begin inviting people into your home or you will not do it. The Bible calls us to be hospitable with both believers and nonbelievers, so make sure you are inviting both.

Be you. Biblical hospitality is the opposite of entertaining. We’re inviting someone into real life in a way that they get to know the real us and feel comfortable enough to be their real self. Am I saying don’t clean up or don’t seek to cook a good meal? No. I am simply saying to let them see the real you. We tend to frantically clean up our house and make it as Pinterest-worthy as possible. Relax and let people see the real you and how God’s grace applies in your life and that everything isn’t always perfectly together for you and your family.

Sacrifice for it. Hospitality is not easy. Hospitality will cost you something, always. Opening up your home to others will cost money, take time and drain personal energy. It will shake up the peace and quiet that seems so sparse. There’s a good reason why Peter writes, Show hospitality without grumbling. It’s easy to complain; hospitality is costly. Don’t focus on what it costs. Focus on what it’s worth. God is in the business of using those who are sacrificial.

Mission is Not Just an Event

The mission is something you get to give your life to, not just an event or a few scheduled events – if you aren’t careful Missional activity can become a monthly event….just something in your schedule. You’ll have events when you are going after your mission, but so much of the good stuff will happen organically as you go. Random phone calls, watching ball games with a few guys you’ve been praying for. Taking a meal to a woman who’s sick, fixing the roof for someone who is open to you and far from Jesus. Think about what it looks like to open your dinner table, your weekend activities, and your family campfires to others as you disciple them along the way. Think more than event….think event and regular everyday life as well.

(Via Mike Jarrell)

Incarnation as a Model for Missional

Karen Wilk of Forge Canada has a wonderful, and deeply theological, reflection appropriate for this season. She says that, since our God exists in Trinity, three Persons who are not mixed together, that there is a sacred space between and among the persons of the Trinity. This is a pretty cool concept. But, what’s really cool is how the incarnation can be understood as entering that space:

During the seasons of Advent and Christmas, we reflect on this Divine Space. By becoming one of us, the Son stepped into the space between Father/Creator and humanity. The Incarnation affirms for us the wonder and mystery of a God who is willing to make Godself vulnerable, available and graspable. It also reminds us that we live in a space between.

By becoming flesh, Christ joins us in our space between, as being made of mud that also bear the divine image (Genesis 2:7). Jesus, the Incarnate One, does more than embody this space, he enlivens and directs it. He is the great shepherd in the midst of the sheep. He is the High Priest who mediates, reconciles and makes a way in the space between for His flock to do the same.

Jesus led from amongst his followers. He called them his friends (John 15:14,15). Likewise, the role of the Christian leader is not to stand over and above such a space but rather to inhabit it.

Missional leaders nurture authentic friendships with those whom they seek to lead. They come alongside, and serve one another in community with mutual trust, honor and love. Missional leaders do not impose their views. They seek, listen to and receive the gifts and insights of all who inhabit this space between.

Instead of a posture of command and control, missional leaders come side by side and even underneath. They demonstrate Jesus’ teaching and example that friends lay down their lives for one another (John 15:13.) Missional leaders can do no less.

This is the nature of love and God is love.

So, it is during this season of the incarnation that we are reminded to enter into the “space between” in our lives and in our neighborhoods. We leave the spaces of our “church,” our “ecclesia,” and move out into the world. After all, that is what our God does.

Investing Life / Embedding Teachings

Investing Life/Embedding Teachings. That’s how Jesus did discipleship. This is from Alan Hirsch’s The Forgotten Ways.

“The founding of the whole Christian movement, the most significant religious movement in history, one that has extended itself through the ages, and into the twenty-first century, was initiated through the simple acts of Jesus investing his life and embedding his teachings in his followers and developing them into authentic disciples”

Missional Living Easier at Christmastime?

Is missional living easier at Christmastime? So says Joy Brudolph over at http://www.joybrudoph.com.  You can read the details over there, but her three reasons are these:

1. People are more open to Gospel conversations. Even with the secularization of our society you can still find nativity scenes, crosses and other elements that point to the Christ child in public…

2. There are more social opportunities to develop relationships and have deep conversations. Every party, gift exchange, or trip to the market is a chance to connect the lost to the truth of the Gospel…

3. You are more centered on your faith this time of year.…  Brennan Manning says “each sprig of holly is a hint of his holiness. Every cluster of mistletoe is a sign he is here.” At Christmastime you are more effective at missional living because you are more focused on who the mission is about.

It’s a good list and a good reminder at this point.