Check out this article by Dave Ferguson in this weeks Christian Standard Magazine about the NewThing Network church plant in Kansas City. It seems what we had a vision for many months ago is gaining some momentum. I am so excited.
I just put the finishing touches on our Big Idea Small Group Discussion Guide for a series called Designer Sex. The whole time I was writing it I was tying to imagine using it with my small group members. I blush just thinking about it. With topics like frequency of sex in marriage, and lust....who wouldn't blush? I think we are going to use it in our group...yikes. Anyone out there brave enough to give it a try? - The discussion that is..... I better quite now before I get myself in trouble.
No matter how much I like a movie or a book, I rarely ever watch it again. I like NEW movies and NEW stories. So, I have to confess when I got my free copy of the Big Idea, I put it on the shelf. Cause after all, I already know the Big Idea story. Having worked at CCC for the past 12 years and being the leader of the writing team for the Big Idea small group curriculum, I kinda live the story.
But last weekend, during one of the four services I would be attending, I had some down time. The reception area was empty, as most people were in the service, and there was the Big Idea book on the table. So I picked it up and started to read.
Honestly, I could not put it down. My favorite chapter, Creating Missional Velocity is, quite frankly, really, really, REALLY good. I love the story about Juan Carlos Ortiz that begins on page 48. I heard Ortiz tell this story himself years ago at a conference.
Here is a quote I love from page 59, "...for a Christ follower, the measure of maturity is determined by the speed of obedience. The most mature Christ follower is not the person who has attended the most church events or has accumulated the most knowledge about Jesus, but rather the person whose heart is most transformed. And transformation is seen when a person hears God and responds with swift obedience."
It is easy to take for granted the way things are done around here at CCC. But to be reminded of why we do what we do, is refreshing and motivating.
Church planting for Troy and I would not be nearly as attractive or even possible without the Big Idea. As a Newthing Network church plant, we will have the privilege of collaborating with CCC on the Big Idea, freeing us up to develop leaders and teams and build relationships with the people of Kansas City.
So I got my health assessment - the one where they tell you your body age. My body age is 38! Yes! Next month I will be 43. But they tell me if I work on it I can get a body age of 29. Ha Ha Ha.
So I am running on the treadmill and doing my sit ups and stretching and lifting weights, all to be 29? No, I don't really want to be 29 again. I just want to be a really healthy 43. But really I want to do well in the Kingdom 5K race coming up in April. Yep, the money raised goes to the New Thing Network which supports the Kansas City church plant.
So sign up now and join Troy and I in the Kingdom 5K and run for KC.
Since we have been sharing our plans to plant a Newthing Network church in Kansas City, many of our friends ask about how our kids are handling the idea of moving. We have three children; Jake 16, Mitch 13 and Judiann 7. This week my son Mitch wrote this paper for school. It was interesting getting my 13 year old's perspective on moving and church planting:
I didn't know what to think. When my parents talk to me alone it is never good, but there is a first time for everything. I kept thinking about what I had done over the last few days that I might be getting punished for, but nothing really came to mind, so I guessed something good was about to happen.
As they walked toward me and told me to sit down, my heart began to race and my chest began to pound. This adrenaline blinded all my senses and all I could do was wait. As they began to speak Istarted to fiddle with my flip flops subconsciously tearing at the torn rubber on the side.
Then my father began to speak. He told me that God had been calling my parents to make some drastic changes in their life. And what my Dad said next would define my life and the life of my family. What he told me in that moment was not that my parents were getting a divorce, not that my family was going bankrupt, but that our family was going to move.
At first my heart didn't know what emotion to feel, anxiousness, heartache, despair and then something I can not even describe to this day. I was proud. I felt joy. I would be part of God'smission. I would get to serve Him by planting a church in Kansas City. But even before I could understand all these feelings, I began to cry. I thought about my friends, my school, my sports teams and my home. I sobbed for what seemed like days.
From this experience I realized that in the beginning things can seem negative, but you're always going to have to keep an open mind to be able to get through the rough part. With all that emotion coming to me I realized the next step in my life. I guess now all I can do is wait, watch and see what is in store for me.
Here is my sister Lori in India at a church service. There are so many of these little churches scattered throughout India. It is amazing the kind of growth they see in one month over there. God is working big time in the lives and hearts of the people in India.
Pray for my sisters and their team. Here is a quote from my sister regarding their transportation issues: "There is a state dispute over the water in the river. The road transportation has been shut down. The rebels are not allowing any vehicles in or out of the cities. The pastors assure us it will be ended within 24 hours. "
Please pray that they will able to travel to get to their next conference and pray for their safety.
I just got word that my two sisters and their team arrived safely in Bangalore, India. They are on mission with India Gospel League, speaking at women's conferences. Keep up with their trip on Judy's Blog.
When I was in India last August, it was the coolest most challenging thing I have ever done. At one point, when I first got there, I freaked out for a minute....and told my sister "this is really hard, I want to go home....this makes church planting seem like a birthday party." So now, whenever I call my sister Judy and say, "I am freaking out about church planting," she reminds me...."remember, it's just a birthday party."