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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

Monthly Archives: November 2014

Since 2009 we have been on an intentional journey to learn what Jesus desires His Church to be. In the process we have faced a need for change in leadership, language, and lifestyle. Leadership, because we had to embrace the walk of service to the Bride instead of entertaining Her; Language, becuase words carry meaning from history, so that new direction needs new dialogue; and Lifestyle because in the end our message is spoken by what we do – each of us, every moment of every day. We noticed that lifestyle is mostly guided by deeper beliefs, not conscious choice – So in our walk as disciples we have dug deeper in our closest relationships to let the Holy Spirit work on our hearts.

When we got to the challenge of staying engaged with our community outside of our Fellowship, we found that the connections God creates day to day are truly divine appointments, and that living “missionally” has nothing to do with programs. We are being read by others constantly. We are seeing right now the result of what dozens of others were reading in the life of a young man named Nick who let others know about his love for Jesus. When his life reached the finish line before anyone expected, his friends were affected. They were drawn to, and for some, drawn back to, following the Wild Messiah. How do we allow Jesus to be preached by our lives so that when we speak, and work, and “serve”, and hang out at home, the voice of God is sensed again saying, “This is My Son…”? (Matt. 3:17, Luke 3:22, 9:35)  I remember in all of this that it was God who did Pentecost; it was God who gave Steven the grace to forgive people as they were stoning him. These were the points at which the true God was revealed in unplanned events (at least by people). We are all along for the ride. It’s how we ride that proves the presence of Jesus.

We have a sign up in our house that says, “Live well ~ Laugh Often ~ Love much”. I think I like it because it describes what I think of when I read Jesus’ words, “I have come that you may life, and have it to the full.” If He came to give us this, then living this way is good way to “preach” His presence. Then all that is left to do is tell others where it come from.

I recently was directed to an article by Rachel Naomi Remen that had some powerful insights on “helping” and “serving”.  While it might redefine some common terms we use, I wonder if this isn’t often what we really mean when we use these terms – See what you think…

“In recent years the question “How can I help?” has become meaningful to many people. But perhaps there is a deeper question we might consider. Perhaps the real question is not “How can I help?” But “How can I serve?”

Serving is different from helping. Helping is based on inequality; it is not a relationship between equals. When you help you use your own strength to help those of lesser strength. If I’m attentive to what is going on inside of me when I’m helping, I find that I’m always helping someone who is not as strong as I am, who is needier than I am. People feel this inequality. When we help we may inadvertently take away from people more than we could ever give them; we may diminish their self-esteem, their sense of worth, integrity and wholeness. When I help I am very aware of my own strength. But we don’t serve with our strength, we serve with ourselves. We draw from all of our experiences. Our limitations serve, our wounds serve, even our darkness can serve. The wholeness in us serves the wholeness in others and the wholeness in life. The wholeness in you is the same as the wholeness in me. Service is a relationship between equals.

Helping incurs debt. When you help someone they owe you one. But serving, like healing is mutual. There is no debt. I am as served as the person that I am serving. When I help I have a feeling of satisfaction.  When I serve I have a feeling of gratitude. These are very different things.

Serving is also different from fixing. When I fix a person I perceive them as broken, and their brokeness requires me to act. When I serve I see and trust that wholeness. It is what I am responding to and collaborating with.

There is distance between ourselves and whatever or whomever we are fixing. Fixing is a form of judgment. All judgment creates distance, a disconnection, an experience of difference. In fixing there is an inequality of expertise that can easily become a moral distance. We cannot serve at a distance. We can only serve that to which we are profoundly connected, that which we are willing to touch. This is Mother Teresa’s basic message. We serve life not because it is broken but because it is holy.

If helping is an experience of strength, fixing is an experience of mastery and expertise. Service, on the other hand, is an experience of mystery, surrender, and awe. A fixer has the illusion of being casual. A server knows that he or she is being used and has a willingness to be used in the service of something greater, something essentially unknown. Fixing and helping are very personal; they are very particular, concrete and specific. We fix and help many different things in our lifetimes, but when we serve we are always serving the same thing. Everyone who has ever served through the history of time serves the same thing. We are servers of the wholeness and mystery in life.

The bottom line, of course, is that we can fix without serving. And we can help without serving. And we can serve without fixing or helping. I think I would go so far as to say that fixing and helping may often be the work of
the ego and service is the work of the soul. They may look similar if you’re watching from the outside, but the inner experience is different. The outcome is often different too.

Our service serves us as well as others. That which uses us strengthens us. Over time, fixing and helping are draining, depleting. Over time we burn out. Service is renewing. When we serve, our work itself will sustain us.

Service rests on the basic premise that the nature of life is sacred, that life is a holy mystery, which has an unknown purpose. When we serve, we know that we belong to life and to that purpose. Fundamentally, helping, fixing, and service are ways of seeing life. When you help you see life as weak, when you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole. From the perspective of service, we are all connected. All suffering is like my suffering and all joy is like my joy. The impulse to serve emerges naturally and inevitably from this way of seeing.

Lastly, fixing and helping is the basis of curing, but not of healing. In 40 years of chronic illness I have been helped by many people and fixed by a great many others who did not recognize my wholeness. All that fixing and helping left me wounded in some important and fundamental ways. Only service heals.”