This last weekend I had the joy and honor of teaching at Paragon Church as part of our Summer Series on Movies.
You can listen to it here. (It may take a day or two to show up.)
I talked about the Xmen
I talked about the Seven Themes and most importantly about the need for connection in small groups. This is not just a church nicety, a popular fad among churches, but an essential element of God’s plan for the church. Ephesians explains that the church is to be a glorious and beautiful picture of the multifaceted Grace of God. Together, as each part does it’s work, sharing the Grace of God through the gifts God has given us, we are built up until together Christ’s body can be seen, can be touched and felt. God wants to love the world through us. The task is impossible for anyone of us. Even together it’s beyond our abilities. But together, with Christ at the head, something miraculous and amazing happens. I spoke about something similar at my recent trip to Colorado Leadership Training, where I was privileged to speak to eager young raindrops. Well at least I think of them as raindrops after this experiment.
We are a country proud of our individuality. I get it. Every life is precious and every individual’s unique abilities, character, and freedom’s are worth protecting. At the same time though, we are so used to resisting any kind of collective thinking, fearing a Borg type of assimilation, that we miss the corporate nature of much of scripture. Like Wolverine we want to stand alone and fight. Yet Romans 12, Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Peter 4, just to name a few, could not be more clear. The church is a glorious and beautiful institution, but it’s power lies in each of us doing our part and each part working together in unity.
For 20 years, I’ve been preaching on Identity in Christ. As John Dragge, director of the Colorado LT and lifelong friend, said, I’ve been teaching on identity before it was cool in the church to do so. I am thoroughly convinced that we short change the idea of Grace when we don’t recognize the actual changes to our core nature that occur at the cross. The Gospel is not only about Christ but about finding Life, something everyone seeks. This message is still core to my ministry and still much needed.
But I am realizing now that there’s this collective problem as well. That the church corporately tends to miss the power, beauty and mission of the church as Christ’s Body. Instead we believe the press of our early demise, or irrelevance. We relegate our power to other institutions with good intention but destructive results. No other seat of power is given to do what we are called to do: to represent the work and Grace of Christ on earth. To love His children with His Grace and speak with His words. It sounds pretentious and and overreaching, and as individuals it is; but then again a single individual trying to be a rainstorm looks pretty silly too. We can snap our fingers, and stomp our feet, but by ourselves we only look foolish or angry, powerless and desperate. Together, though we make a rainstorm.
Together we can do this
And so, as God has moved me from a pastor with a church to a pastor without a church, I’ve begun to see how my ministry can still help build the church, how my teaching can be part of the greater whole. I believe in it enough I’m doing all I can to be faithful to this call. It’s been tough. Marketing is not my thing but I’m doing what I know to do. Budgeting time and financial resources with a family of 9, working at the “fruit stand,” creating a brand new conference, supporting my own local church, and booking the conferences is proving very difficult. If there were an easier way to feed my family, I would do it in a heartbeat. Truth is I’m not skilled, trained, or qualified for much else. This is what I can do; it’s what I contribute, and it’s valuable to our shared cause of bringing life and Glorifying Christ.
Resources are stretched thin and I can’t do it by myself. God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, but much like the message I’m teaching, I believe He wants to share some of that cattle through others in the body of Christ, to remind me of my own interconnectivity. It would be easier to not need people, to be independently wealthy, to fund it all myself. I’m doing everything I can (even selling my beloved Apple products!), but my resources just will not be enough.
I suspect that’s why God lead me to FaithLauncher. It’s like Kick Starter, crowdfunding it’s called. It is like those tiny raindrops adding up to a great rainstorm. I know that many of you believe in what I”m doing. You’ve told me so over the years, expressing how the message of the Hidden Life has changed you or how God has used this ministry to help you understand your own story in light of scripture. I also know that many of you just don’t believe you have anything to give. Don’t miss the point of crowdfunding, and of Ephesians 4. Each part does it’s work. It may only be a drop, but enough drops do fill a bucket.
So right now I’m just talking to those of you who have been blessed by my ministry, by a teaching, a writing, an encouragement over the years; I’m talking to anyone who believes in the message of the Hidden Life, or who believes in me, or who believes in the slice of Christ’s Grace entrusted to me as a stewardship (1 Peter 4:10-11). I’m talking to those of you lead by God or evidence that the ministry would be a blessing to others. Although I’m open to anything, I’m not contemplating long term support. The FaithLauncher campaign has one month left. One month to raise 5000 dollars to give this ministry a good solid launch, that we can move strongly, rather than limp. Just a few people, some giving as little as 10, have brought us to 11 percent. Thank you! Thank you so much! This is how a rainstorm is made. Crowdfunding works precisely because of the crowd. Think about it. If everyone of my Facebook friends gave only 10 dollars, or if even only one of their friends gave 10 dollars, we’d be more than fully funded. If you believe in the mission, can you give 10 or more? Can you find a friend to encourage to give ten or more? That’s all it takes. For every gift from 10 dollars up, I give away free gifts. Gifts which I believe are cool, but which also spread the message of Life in Christ. I’d love to send you a free PDF copy of my book, or even an advanced copy of my new book. These are just a few example of the gifts you can receive. Look, you know I don’t believe guilt is good motivator. (Trust me I would use it if I did.) Of course, God loves you whether you give or not. I still believe you love America, Jesus, apple pie and me, even if you don’t give a cent, but if you believe in what I”m doing, why wouldn’t you want to add your drop to the bucket?
Add your drop, pass on the link, and pray for full funding. 30 days to go!