April 28, 2009


Just want to put up a quick post and apologize for the lack of updates lately. We've been dealing with some health issues in the family and some other logistical problems. Leading up to Easter and following I told the passion narrative and many resurrection stories.

This year I really keyed in on John 14 and 15 with the Christian groups. I believe that all of us understand the resurrection a little better now.

I've been studying through some of the essentials in creating small reproductive churches and have learned that much of what decides whether a group will EVER become an autonomous church or remain a leader-dependent bible study happens in the first 2 or 3 meetings. We've begun dozens of groups. Many of those groups produced new Christians, but none of them have become a church.

Some of the most recent groups have been nearest misses. They have produced the most obedient Christians and the ones who learn the scriptures the best. Still, no church.

We are going to make some small but significant changes as we begin the next few groups. Hopefully I can post how that process works as we get going. Of course, no real names and no real addresses.

April 3, 2009

"What did he do?" (a long post)

Last night, in the small town, I was visiting the store of a merchant friend of mine. He'd gone to the city and so I spoke with his wife. I've shared with this family a number of times, but they have not given themselves completely over to God. The woman told me that she has been reading the Bible each morning, usually Psalm 4 or 5. We began to talk about what it means to present yourself to God and pray, as mentioned in Psalm 5.

When she said she never asks God for anything, just thanks him for what she has, I told her that the only time I remember someone praying to God and not asking for something was the prayer of the Pharisee. She didn't know what I meant, so I told her the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector.

When she asked what she could pray for when she has everything... money family a good home... I told her she could pray for spiritual things. I then told the story of Abraham interceding for Sodom and Gomorrah and I also told the story of the widow and the corrupt judge.

As she began to name things that she would like God to change in her character and that of her husband, her youngest daughter walked in, cellphone in hand. She announced "That's my thing. I am really given over to stuff. This cellphone for example. It is the latest and best, but if I lose it or it breaks, I will cry and complain everyday until dad gets me a better one. I can't imagine not having my things."

I told the young teen girl about when a young rich man went and asked Jesus how he could have eternal life. She became very involved with the story, more than I expected.

As I told the story, she listened. "so, Jesus said, 'you know the commandments: don't commit adultery, don't murder, don't steal, don't give false testimony, honor your father and your mother.' Then the young man replied, 'but I've kept all these commands since I was a child.'"

Then she interrupted "Me too!"

I continued "Jesus looked at the man, feeling compassionate love for him, and said "But you still lack one thing... Go and sell everything you have and give the money to the poor, then come and follow me." I paused.

The girl's eyes got wide and perplexed and she asked "What did he do?"

I continued and told of the man's sadness and the statement that Jesus made. "How hard it is for the rich to enter into the kingdom of heaven. It's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle that for a rich person to enter into the kingdom of God."

She was quiet for a moment. I imagine that she was thinking about that needle, because she and her mother are skilled at making clothes. She asked, "Can a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven?"

I answered with the question of the disciples "Well, then who can be saved?" and the reply of Jesus "What is impossible with man is possible with God," and then finished the story.

I asked her if she would be willing to give up all of her things and all that her parents earn in order to have entrance into God's kingdom. She quietly said "I don't know."

Her mother had been listening the whole time. As I left the two of them began to talk seriously about the stories I told.