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READING LIST

The Permanent Revolution, by Hirsch & Catchim

With by Skye Jethani. - Reimagining the way you relate to God.

Cracking Your Church's Culture Code, by Samuel Chand

The 21 Most Powerful Minutes in a Leader's Day, by John C. Maxwell

The Forgotten Ways Handbook, by Alan Hirsch

The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations, by Brafman & Becksrom

Untamed, by Alan Hirsch

Church 3.0, by Neil Cole

The Shaping of Things to Come, by Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost

Yearly Archives: 2009

Starting next month, Mission-link will be providing ministry and teaching on Spritual Warfare at The Fish House in Isanti, MN. Three appointments will be available on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month, and as otherwise arranged individually. Teaching sessions will be on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays from 1-3 p.m., also at the Fish House. We are excited to see captives set free as believers learn to walk in the inheritance of Jesus’ authority in their lives! Please be praying for us as we develope the team for this new opportunity.

Tonight I got to speak with a band of guys who were ministering down at the Marie Sandvick Center in Minneapolis. Like so many others who hear about what we are doing in the Cambridge-Isanti area, they were curious about how we are doing leadership. Without exception, the people I have talked to who have tried house church have always run into leadership problems.

Last night I was talking to someone who was wrestling with the high value we place on “vulnerability” with leaders, and it occurred to me how the level of “grace” (as opposed to “shame”) that is going on in any given group of any size is directly related to the vulnerability of the leaders. It’s the leadership that let’s everyone know how safe the group is (and by implication, how safe our God is) by how much they share of their own weaknesses – not for shock value, but truly with the purpose of showing confidence in the grace of God.

We are spending the next few weeks digging into the grace of God and how huge it is. Here is our study outline on it:

I will be writing more on this, but I would really like to hear some comments on this topic. What reasons do you hear as to why leaders are not more vulnerable?

Jesus told His disciples, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” John 7:38. This seems to come from Proverbs 10:11, 18:4, and others that predict a flow of life and wisdom from those God will bless. I take this to mean at least one thing – That whoever those people are, others will notice that the effect of being around them is to come away richer, more alive and refreshed than they were. These are people who give away life – who give away power to others. I think Jesus was the picture of this dynamic, and the “first of many bretheren” who would be known for it.

When I look at leadership in the church today, I don’t see this picture so much. I see church staff battling for limited resources, church boards that don’t ever expect to pay a living wage to employees, and pastors that can’t ever afford to hand off leadership roles for fear of not fulfilling their job descriptions. The flow of real life and power to people seems to be at best incidental to the management and glimmer of programs. Investment in discipleship is difficult to find. I notice Jesus giving away things:

  • His authority – to seventy guys whose names are still a mystery;
  • His Dignity – to twelve who wouldn’t have thought to wash His feet, let alone theirs;
  • His Keys to the Kingdom – to guys who argued about who was the greatest;
  • His Church – to those who had denied and abandoned Him at His death.

When I look at how Jesus entrusted the treasures of His Kingdom to these people, my excuses for holding on to these things make me ashamed – I wonder who I am to think I am handling what I have been given better than one of the least of those who are like Jesus’ disciples. I think that if I am going to be one who has this “River of Life” coming from him, I need to learn to release power to others, like Jesus did in His vulnerability, His reckless trust, and always undeserved radical grace toward others. May we sit at the Rabbi’s feet for this. Amen

Hey – this is just a reminder that next weekend (Halloween) is a big one for us – We are doing everything at the Fish House that weekend: The Spiritual Warfare Conference from 6:30 Friday night to 4:00 pm on Saturday, then our Gathering will start at 5:00 in the upper room of the same location with a CHILi FEED, and go into a worship time with Stacy & Serit leading us in Israeli worship dance. After our open mic time, we will join the Fish House Crowd downstairs for a combined service where the message on restoring the Keys of spiritual authority in the Church will be given – that will be Halloween night. Our victory over darkness does not step aside for Halloween, it meets it head on!!!

For more details, go to The Journey Website: www.thejourney-ecmn.org

Today I am reading John Maxwell’s book, “The 21 Most Powerful Minutes…”, where he uses the life of Solomon to illustrate how momentum works in leadership. It is interesting to me how something comes to be called a “movement”, as this implies an increasing momentum – people catch a vision and find a way to do what they see – to live it out, and in doing so they find that they have the power to make a difference.

I see this in The Journey EC house church network. How many of us as believers in Jesus have read how the early church lived with a sense of “awe” (Acts 2:43) at the power of God, meeting house to house (v. 46), and sharing what they had with those in need (v. 45), only to wonder why we don’t see this today? We have asked ourselves, “Why can’t we do this”, and maybe we’ve tried to give it a go, only to find the challenge of a smaller, closer community more daunting than we thought.

But now I see people who have attended church for decades learning to become the Church – the dwelling place of God; And although the relationship part is a challenge and we make a lot of mistakes, we are excited to be walking out what we see in the accounts of the ministry of Jesus and His disciples.

As for momentum, we are learning the difference between the initial draw of “novelty” and the longer term connection to the mission. Actually making the shift from the “initial interest” crowd to the more long term group with the “get-it factor” can seem like a loss of momentum. It looks a little like a three stage rocket that drops a section after certain points in its journey to reach its destination, only we are actually seeing others added as the journey goes forward and becomes more defined. Maxwell makes some good points about what keeps momentum going:

  1. Leaders who have accepted that it is in their hands;
  2. Willingness to direct it rather than just ride the wave;
  3. Continuing to fuel, and show the value of, the vision;
  4. Catching people doing good things.

It is an amazing thing in the history of the world as we know it – this story of the Church. No one can get away from the proof that faith in Jesus Christ, and the Kingdom He brought, has only increased over the last two millennia. Even now when our willingness to adapt to changing culture is being tested once again, we see an amazing gift in the Church’s readiness to move into a simpler mode, unburdened by buildings and big budgets. Generations who have generally held each other, and God, at an arms length as they attended weekly formal services in large sanctuaries are giving way to a more connected church – one who is bringing Jesus home for dinner. What a great picture of Jesus’ desired result as he stands knocking on the door of our house…not just our hearts. I have often wondered how we could talk so freely about receiving Him in our hearts, when we had yet to welcome Him into our living rooms?

Can we agree to ask,

“Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth (starting in my living room) as it is in heaven.” ?

Shalom

Bob Roby

THE STRENGTH OF OUR WILL
Today I spotted an article in the September 21, 2009 issue of “Leadership Journal” by John Ortberg called: The Strong-Willed Leader: There is a difference between a surrendered will and a weak will. I was really encouraged to see this come to light, because over the 27 years that I have been involved with the church as an institution, I have consistently encountered teaching – both specific and implied – that God’s plan for us is have no will of our own. I have observed that the resulting passivity of church culture in America, particularly as it is encouraged in the “laity” or attenders, is linked to the taking away of the “key” in Luke 11:52; It hinders those who are trying to enter the Kingdom, or domain of God. Then there is that disturbing statement in Matthew 11:12 about “violent men” taking the Kingdom by force.

So how do we square that Jesus both “set His face to go to Jerusalem” in Luke 10:51, and yet only always did what He saw His Father doing? (John 5:19) It doesn’t seem a mystery to me any more. It has a lot to do with what we believe God wants from us, and what He will do if we bow our heart to Him. You see, every other god (and I use this term in the broadest sense) seeks to take power from us – to use us, and use us up. The true God is the only One who can afford to give us more power than He takes from us. (Note the promises in Acts 1:8, Ephesians 1:20, e.g.)But old habits are hard to break – we have been taught by our other gods that to come under the authority of another means we must disengage our will. At the same time we are doing this (which I beleieve is very offensive to God – kind of like bonevolent adoptive parents bringing a child home only to see him crippled by a constant, parylizing fear that they are going to beat and abuse him), He is all about the task of healing and rebuilding our will so that it is functioning again – evidenced by the ability to daily choose to follow Him. (Romans 8:14)

More could be said about this – and I hope that we as the Church will begin to grow in this understanding: that God comes to empower and repair our will, and to equip us for the spiritual battle field we live in. Passivity is not close to godlikeness – rather it takes an incredibly strong and healthy will for us to do as Jesus did in setting His face toward Jerusalem, for this where our cross awaits us…the one we are to take up daily as we follow our Savior.
Grace & Peace

THE GATHERING – SEPTEMBER 26TH AT THE SHED!
The Topic is “Hearing from God – Why at least every Christian has already heard God’s voice”

The Shed (34092 Vickers Street NE in Cambridge) has been offered by Dale Forslin for us to meet starting this month! To show our thanks we are going to be out there next Saturday the 12th to work on clean up and whatever else is needed.

Plan to be out there from noon to about 4:00 p.m.

Well, we had four baptisms in July, and our August Gathering was filled with sharing around a campfire in the park – what God is doing among us.

The Blue Fish house church has been on an amazing journey around learning to invite the Spirit of God to teach us – as Jesus promised He would. (John 16 :12-15) We are going to breakout discussions with questions that send us into the Bible for answers, and seeing how God speaks to all of us – It has been amazing.

But lately we have been tugging on the meaning of “ministry” to each other, and what ministry really means. Ministry has been defined by some as “Our needs being met by God’s resources”, but how do God’s resources get involved? We recognize that the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit are our only hope of “ministry” happening, so we have to go to God with our hands and hearts open, while at the same time we test what comes to us by its:

  1. Consistency with Scripture,
  2. Confirming fruit, and
  3. Confession of Jesus Christ as Lord

We are beginning to see healing and freedom among us – but it’s a learning process. We find we have been affected by all kinds of teaching and perspectives on these things – But as long as we can all defer to the authority of Scripture, we are going to find our way through the experiential part of our walk. He will complete the work He began in us!

Saturday July 25th from 5:00-8:00 at the Cambridge City Park

Food – Live band – Open mic – Drama group – Baptisms

See what the journey is about. It’s the journey we are all on to discover the part of our existence that can’t be measured in a lab; The part of our world that has to be learned by heart. Come and eat, sing, share your journey with others, or just hear from regular people what they are discovering in their own journeys. All are welcome.

5-8 p.m. at the Cambridge City Park
THEME: PRAYER – “What is it and does it really change anything?”
Food at 5:00 – Worship and Open Mic at 6:00

Bring friends and stories of answered prayer!

For Home Church group information go to www.thejourney-ecmn.org