Tuesday, September 20, 2011
But what Jill really wanted to communicate was that she in turn shared about this small Sunday school program's efforts in a newsletter that is circulated among supporters. After reading about our kids, other Sunday school classes were so inspired that they followed suit. Less than a year after our kids responded to this need, Jill said they had received enough money to purchase 9 sewing machines to date. She told our kids that they had started a movement!
As I sat listening to this amazing story, I was reminded of the prophet Isaiah's eschatological vision of the coming Messiah who would reign with righteousness, justice, and peace for all the earth and among all the nations. Isaiah said that this Messiah would come to God's people as a child and that this "little child would lead them" (Isaiah 11:6). I couldn't help but see how true that was in this moment: The children of Epic were leading us adults in the act of thoughtful and generous giving.
It also happened to be the final official day for Kristy Prince as our kids director. It ended up being a nice way, I think, to honor her by hearing publicly of the tangible fruit of her ministry with our kids. That might have been the sweetest thing of all.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
This list and following comments were part of my message on community given at Epic (9/18/2011). I got feedback that people wanted the list, so here it is:
What's the point of church? One argument is that we can’t live out the Scriptures, particularly the New Testament, without a community.
Speak truth in love (Eph 4:15)
Bring things into the light (Eph 5:8)
Submit to one another (Eph 5:21)
Build one another up (Eph 5: 29)
Carry each other’s burdens (Gal 6:2)
Resolve conflict with one another (Matt 18:15)
Discern and make decisions together (Matt 18:18)
Eat together and partake of the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 11:33)
Confess our sins to one another and pray for each other (James 5:16)
Encourage one another (Heb 10:24)
Love one another (Heb 13:1)
Extend hospitality (Heb 13:2)
Forgive one another (Eph 4:32)
The ethical invitation to live in the kingdom of God assumes gathering, relationship, that we know one another, that we are in each others lives. We can believe the right things, but we cannot actually follow Jesus without belonging to a distinct, real, visible, community. It is impossible to truly live as a Christian or function as the church outlined in the New Testament without a deep commitment to the body of Christ.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
I appreciated Kurt Andersen's back cover story (Beyond 9/11 Issue). Having visited Ground Zero just a month ago, I came away with similar reflections. What if instead of entering two wars as a response to the 9/11 attacks, we had invested that $2-3 trillion on what makes America so resilient in the first place: its people. Not only could President Bush have made the urgent call to wean us from oil, but the opportunity was there to inspire all of us to invest more heavily in education, the arts, technology, and housing for the homeless - or to volunteer - all investments in citizens by citizens that would have made us stronger as a country. In the end, our top political officials governed by the very thing they wanted us to overcome: fear.
Diamond Bar, CA
Postscript: My response ended up being published in the 9/26/2011 edition of Time (Rick Perry cover).