Archive for July 2008

Nothing but a Dreamer   Leave a comment

I can’t remember any time in my life when I have been conscious of dreaming I don’t mean I never had dreams but I have no memory of having them consistently ……..that is until very recently . Now I don’t mean genuflecting asteroids , wine cellars or donut shops with aviaries attached ( ok think about it)* Mine have been your average garden variety weird …..but it has got me thinking.
When the leadership  took a half day to focus on God we heard a message from the One Prayer series entitled Make us Dreamers. So much of what God has been saying to us has encouraged us to dream of what God wants here is Pacifica, to be willing to be audacious dangerous etc. But here’s my question how do I know its God’s dream and not mine. How do I avoid coming up with my version of someone else’s great dream (especially one that God brought into reality).
I think the answer,  or at least part of it, is contained in the following
•    Pray a lot
•    Watch what is happening a round you (Pay attention!)
•    ……Pray a lot
•    Read the bible carefully and regularly asking God to show you relevant things
•    And……… pray a lot
•    Share anything you observe, read or hear with others
and then I believe God will reveal patterns and similar ideas. People will confirm things that o others have thought or seen. Then, as the dream takes shape the conviction grows that it has been revealed to us by God and is not just someone’s good idea.
BUT this will not take place unless we join the prayer and conversation, unless God’s plan for our church is important enough for us to dream about ……..
So what sort of a church do you dream of and more importantly what do you think God dreams for our church?

* If you are still confused then Genesis 39-41 might help !


Posted July 30, 2008 by jolm15 in Uncategorized

Words that should not exist   Leave a comment

There are some words that just should not exist don’t you think?  One of those that keeps appearing before me is the word “unlearning” The first time I was conscious of noticing it was when I read The Unlearning Church for a class at seminary. More recently it appeared in Mark Batterson’s book “In a pit with a lion on a snowy day” and then to cap it all Oswald Chambers devotional this morning……

It is not true to say that God wants to teach us something in our trials. Through every cloud He brings our way, He wants us to unlearn something. His purpose in using the cloud is to simplify our beliefs until our relationship with Him is exactly like that of a child— a relationship simply between God and our own souls, and where other people are but shadows. Until other people become shadows to us, clouds and darkness will be ours every once in a while. Is our relationship with God becoming more simple than it has ever been?

Learning, it seems, should be a positive thing. the way we become equipped to kayak down the complex waterways of life! Learning what to do and what not to do should both help us grow. Progress requires us to learn new things like how to use electronic media but does not require us to unlearn other forms of communication
However tragically this is often not so in our spiritual, moral and ethical lives.. Some learned there is no absolute truth, others that repetitive tragedies rule out the possibility of a loving God. Consequently it would seem are to be effective Christians we must become advocates of the unlearning we have done as well as the learning If we are to give a reason for the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15) we must share the importance of unlearning these things and their implications.
Oswald Chambers however stretches us personally, (well me at least!) still further. He challenges us to take seriously the biblical mandate to come to Jesus as a a little child ( Mark 10:15) and seek to reduce the complexity of our relationship with Him.
So what has God prompted you to unlearn recently and what might He be asking you to unlearn right now?

Posted July 29, 2008 by jolm15 in Uncategorized

Joseph or Adam?   Leave a comment

As I was preparing for last Sunday’s sermon looking at Joseph’s encounter with Potiphar’s wife I came across this striking observation from one of the most creative blog writers I have yet to discover. I was unable to use it in the sermon but I did not want you to miss it.
He compares the explanation that Joseph gives for his refusal to accompany his boss’ wife to bed with the encounter between Adam and Eve and the serpent in the garden.

Here is an excerpt of what Joseph said to Potiphar’s wife when she came on to him. He essentially lays out                 a case based on how much trust Potiphar has put in him:

“everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has               withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing          and sin against God?”

I never realized that this, this is what Adam should have said to the serpent in the garden of Eden. This is                     the speech he should have given. These are almost the exact words, except perhaps we should switch out                 “house” for the word “garden” and “wife” for the word “fruit”:

“everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this garden than I am. My master                     has withheld nothing from me except this fruit, because this is his fruit. How then could I do such a wicked                 thing and sin against God?”

But Adam didn’t say that. Joseph did…………

Anyone ever seen that parallel before?
By the way if you are in the mood for a good laugh read this guy’s other blog entitled “Stuff Christians Like” it is painfully accuratley observed and hilarious!

Posted July 21, 2008 by jolm15 in Uncategorized

And a little child shall lead them   Leave a comment

Well as I said on Sunday morning as we prepared to make our offering for the One Prayer Church planting project, our children had led us . They set themselves an audacious goal and hit it by giving their very best to God. They lived dangerously and what an example they set us……….. and
PRAISE GOD !!!!!! WE FOLLOWED. the offering we received on Sunday for the planting of churches was $2450!!!!!!! When we put that with the tithe of the funds coming from GBF and VDM that means we will be able to plant one and a half close to two churches (I will give the exact figures on Sunday when we can praise God together).
I know that is what happens when we begin to see all that we have as His and our selves as simply His stewards…..
At the outset of this new church family we said we longed to be a place where Jesus truly got to do things HIS way and where He was able to smile as we followed Him, and I am in awe at the ways He has shown us His smile …..5 Baptisms, close to 50 membership covenants, and now an offering to plant churches across the world.
I don’t know about you but I can hardly wait to see His smile again I wonder what it will look like but I am holding on to my fork! ……
Thanks for listening to HIM ………….and by the way I just love our church!

Posted July 8, 2008 by jolm15 in Uncategorized

Come on in!   Leave a comment

Making people feel welcome and creating a sense of family…the answer has traditionally been found in the small group  and whereas I am sure that small groups make a significant contribution I think there may be another very important element. In his book “Creating a Prodigal Friendly Church” Jeff Lucas calls it “ the creation of a culture of welcome……….Its about becoming people who decide that risky welcome is not someone else’s responsibility ….its mine!”
What is the key to creating such a culture? I wonder if it is not at the front door of many of our homes when the doorbell rings. When we open the door it is natural to invite the visitor in and extend ourselves to make them welcome (assuming of course the visitor is someone we are pleased to see!). We do not look to someone else to fulfill this responsibility who else can do it in our home? Indeed even if we are at someone elses home for a meeting and are given the role of opening the door our capacity to  “welcome” is limited compared to those who call the house their home.
So here are a couple of questions that may give us some clues to the creation of a culture of welcome….

  1. Do we really see the church as our family “home” and so as imperative that visitors are welcomed with the same attention to detail
  2. Do each of us see this as our home so our responsibility or is it simply the job of the team appointed for the day so we can just.
  3. Do we see everyone who is a guest at our church as someone we are really pleased to see?

What do you think?

Posted July 5, 2008 by jolm15 in Uncategorized