Nov 28 2014

Struck Down Like Milkweed

When I was a boy growing up in Georgia, I LOVED playing in the woods. Actually, who am I kidding? I still love playing in the woods. So I guess a better start would be . . . when playing in the Georgia backwoods as a boy, my favourite activity was to pretend that I was some sort of hero on epic adventures, climbing trees, leaping over ditches, hopping across creeks, and vanquishing foes with tree-branch swords. My favourite enemy to cross swords with was a milk-weed. These tall, relatively thick-trunked weeds had a hollow center and could be sliced through completely with a well placed strike and a good “blade.” Truth be told, I was always surprised by how easily the mild-weed would break away — it was a great confidence builder for a young warrior. At times, I would find entire groves and lay waste on my quest for victory and justice.

The image of the would-be strength of milk-weed stalk giving away under a calculated blow often comes to mind when the Lord uses a surprisingly small truth to cut to the heart of me. For all my would-be strength, composure, and expectations for my walk with God, sometimes a quick flick of the Holy Spirit slices me right through, exposing my core, convicting of sin, raising questions, revealing direction. Recently this happened with John 6:12.

The context is the Apostle John’s account of Jesus feeding the 5,000. John records Jesus giving instruction to His disciples after everyone had eaten, and I’m convinced that we are meant to see more importance in Christ’s words than merely preparing leftovers for the next day. I think Jesus is revealing a facet of His compassion for people and the nature of His mission. Here’s the verse:

“When they were filled, He said to His disciples, Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.”

Now I don’t want to go overboard in trying to interpret something from this text that isn’t there, but as I read that verse, I thought of Christ’s compassion (Matt. 9:35-38), and the parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15:1-7). I felt convicted over my tendency to do the “easy” things and not necessarily value making sure “nothing is lost”. The reality is that there are many attitudes, important tasks, missed opportunities, and potential rewards that fall through the cracks of my life and faith, my focus and maturity. But deep down, I don’t want this to be the case. I want to fill in those cracks.

Reading John 6:12 over and over again, because it seemed like God was trying to get my attention, eventually led me to a simple yet profound prayer:

God make me, and make C!C, faithful to go and gather! Let none be lost!

Would you join me in that prayer? Coming out of a major sermon series on sharing our faith AND the focus on the persecuted church, would you ask God to cut down the milk-weed grove of your own plans and burden you for His harvest “so that nothing will be lost”? We are not responsible for saving the entire world, but we are responsible for faithfully presenting the Gospel as we have opportunity. Jesus doesn’t ask for more than we can give; He just asks us to give our best.

Who will you challenge to take a step of faith? Who will go out of your way to encourage? How will you prepare yourself to give an answer for the hope that you have?


Jul 6 2012

And they’re off …

Whew.

Here I am, back at the computer after my smartphone reminded me that it’s time to consider my weekly blog entry.  Before plopping here in my desk chair, I was at Starbucks, sipping an iced coffee and filling notebook pages with thoughts about Luke chapter 10.  Before that I was dropping Zach at his place, and just before THAT I was standing in the Ottawa airport saying goodbye to a dozen wonderful people who gave the last week of their lives to diligently serve a neighbourhood in Ottawa, to favourably represent C!C, and to prayerfully advance the Kingdom of God.

I’m not going to spend very much time here because, quite frankly, there is too much to do to get ready for our first Sunday morning service in our new room.  But I wanted to record a brief sentiment of my appreciation for the crew from Eagle’s Landing FBC.

Some brief highlights:

  • I was deeply encouraged by the contrast of how young the team was and yet how mature and disciplined they were.
  • I appreciated their honesty in sharing their hopes and expectations for the week.
  • As is often the case in missions and ministry, flexibility (with a good attitude) is a major necessity . . . and the team owned it.
  • The team showed great boldness in having purposeful conversations without being “weird” or pushy.
  • I felt honoured by the grace the team showed me and my family, whether it was by helping watch the kids or not giving me a hard time through “intentional misdirections” in and surrounding Montreal.
  • One aspect of the team that was abundantly clear throughout their time and interactions with people and each other was that they simply loved Jesus . . . and they felt loved by Him.  This made them an absolute treat to be around.

So as I get back to work on the next round of tasks and calendar items, I’ll end with:

Thank you Eagle’s Landing Team, Thank You.  And Praise the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever.


May 25 2012

New friends, New strides

This day two weeks ago, I was literally jumping into the car in order to race to the airport and pick up Zach Welliver, arriving fresh from Atlanta, Georgia.  Now,  I dropped him off at bus stops and he runs a couple errands before busing across the city to where he’s staying.  He’s set up his headquarters at his house; he’s getting a feel for the city; and he’s initiating toward some C!C peeps.  Awesome?  Yeah.

This past two weeks I’ve enjoyed getting to know more about Zach: the person, the intern, the musician, the young man with a heart for people to know God and experience Him through authentic, sincere, passionate worship.

Here are a couple of things I like most so far:

– He’s laid back and doesn’t get stressed while hanging out with my kids
– He doesn’t like mushrooms on his pizza
– We like similar books
– We like similar music
– He has a healthy intimidation and excitement at working in a church other than what he’s known his whole life
– He is really eager to help our band and band members become better worshippers, better disciples, and a better band

Yeah, so I’ll stop there.  But I’ll end with inviting everyone at C!C to pray for Zach, reach out to him in friendship, and to look for ways to encourage the ministry that God leads him to while in Ottawa.


May 3 2012

Summit check-in #3

Second morning is another beautiful, warm day in the south with a tell-tale sweetness in the air.  It reminds me of Georgia.

Last night ended with a great main session.  We proclaimed realities of the Lord’s great love for us in song, and we affirmed a message of truth from Gabe Lyons, an author and speaker.  The main focus of the talk was the importance of sharing the “whole story” of God’s work as we share with people . . . especially in a context like ours in Canada.  You see, sometimes we narrow our focus in “evangelism” to share about the fall (sin) and redemption (salvation).  But really, this is only half the story.  The story begins with creation, and how wonderful and complete and intentional God made everything.  The story ends with restoration, when all things find their proper place.   And that restoration is really where our hope lies.  We are redeemed unto life . . . full life, eternal life, restored life.  And in all things, because of redemption, His grace is sufficient to keep us restored and carry us to the complete work of ultimate restoration in heaven.

So . . . as we partake in and share the message of Creation — Fall — Redemption — Restoration, we join God in being Restorers.  Cool perspective.

Alright.  Now it’s off to breakfast and then more conference.

Blessings to all.


Jan 27 2012

Another Greeting

BillGreeting — [ click to view video ]

Hey gang!

Jason here with a quick post.

My parents threw a meet and greet for us so that a number of our friends and family members could come visit with us.  Many of these folks hadn’t see Caleb since he was a babe in arms, and none of them had met Lillie or Hannah.  With a slideshow of pictures from the past 5 years running in the background, it was an absolute treat to spend a few hours laughing and sharing about what God is doing among us.

During the festivities, my Uncle Bill (one of my dad’s brothers), took a time-out to record a greeting for C!C.  So if you haven’t already, click the link above . . .

Enjoy the message and enjoy the accent!

Miss you guys, talk to you soon.