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Archive for the ‘love’ Category

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What if you could transform Christmas? Would you?

As Christmas approaches many of us are asking the same questions. We’re no longer interested in the idea of buying for the sake of buying. We’re interested in discovering the redemptive meaning of Christmas.  Are our relationships deepening?  Are we stepping into what it means to love  our neighbor in a restorative way?  Are we giving of ourselves in a way that truly has value?

Americans spend an average of $450 billion on Christmas. That’s 1,485 dollars for every man, woman, and child in America.  And yet are we really experiencing the original meaning of Christmas?  To solve the world’s clean water problem would require only $10 billion dollars.  What that means is the problem is not only solvable, it’s easily within our reach.

We would like to extend an invitation to participate with us this year in transforming Christmas from purchasing and getting to really giving.  Our goal is simple: To transform Christmas by gathering families together and sacrificially purchasing as many wells as we can.

We’re working with Advent Conspiracy and Samaritan’s Purse, an organization that has a long history of working with the poor and oppressed in the world. A well costs about $800 to repair or retrofit.  That’s less than the average spending per American to transform the life of a village. It costs about $2,500 to rehabilitate a non-working well and about $15,000 to drill a large well that serves a large village.

And we’re not asking you to just write a check on top of everything.  We’re asking you to consider working with us as a way of stepping into the deeper meaning of Christmas, a day when love entered the world in a profound way.  We’re asking you to consider giving sacrificially in place of the traditional mad rush of gift giving we typically do.

We’ve also created a brochure to understand what we’re doing, invite friends to participate, dream bigger, and help transform the meaning of Christmas.

Donwload it here.

If you do participate with us, feel free to steal the bug on the right or the banner from this post to spread the word.

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52 to the 48

love

I wish I had thought of this idea.  It’s things like this that make me realize we can work together. (ht)

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May We Love So Well

(ht)

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Over the last 9 months Jeromy and I have been leading a emergent cohort.  It has been a fascinating exercise in listening and learning.  Both Jeromy and I simply wanted to create a safe space for people to discuss their questions, comments, stories and experiences within the church and in following Jesus.  We wanted to practice a generative dialog.

Creating this space was deeply valuable.  It gave both Jeromy and I the space to work through our own questions, mostly in the car rides to and from the cohort, but also within.  We talked about every possible conversation you could imagine from heaven to hell, salvation to conversion, following Jesus to walking away, and homosexuality to women in pastoral roles.  We explored McLaren, Pagitt, Jones, Scandrette, and many other authors.  It was awesome.

But over the last month or two we began noticing a trend.  People stayed for about 2-3 meetings and then disappeared.  And as much as we loved the conversations, many of the same questions were being asked by everyone.  “What is the point of the group?”  As Jeromy and I wrestled with that question over dinner this past week, we began to really ask if it was simply to ask and answer questions?  Is the point of the group simply dialog and generative conversation?

In the beginning it was.  But now we were no longer sure.

We recognized that the one thing that held us together was this fascinating person called Jesus.  Anything we changed would likely need to center on what it meant to follow in order for us to want to participate on a regular basis.

And as we explored the idea with those in the cohort we saw an idea began to emerge (no pun intended).  What if we as a group explored what it meant to practice following Jesus together.  Each month would essentially be about hearing the stories of the experiments from the previous meeting and exploring the next experiment.

Our first experiment is to practice being love to our neighbor every day until the next cohort, or about 30 days.  We defined “neighbor” as anyone we would come into contact with.  It was simple, brilliant and inspiring. We’re going for tremendous courage and tremendous grace.  If someone sees an opportunity, we’re going for it.  If we fail to remember we’re not beating ourselves over the head.  We’re just living into the life of Jesus for those around us.

I have to admit that the idea got my heart racing: practice love on a daily basis and to do it with people looking for something more?  Big ideas raced through my head at the simplicity of it all.  I was diggin’ the new direction.  This was something I could show up for.

We started a Facebook group if you would like to join us in the experiments.

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True Happiness

In this video, which is a must watch, the guy says, “Everything’s amazing, but nobodies happy.”  That’s a pretty profound statement regarding consumer culture.  It’s kind of one of those obvious statements that when spoken needs little defense.  It’s just so true.

Matthew West sings in his song, Nothing Else.

“Not friends or money or alcohol
None of these things, believe me
You can try them all
Not status
Not success
I know none of these things
will ever bring true happiness”

Why is that?  I was thinking about it and was thinking that none of these things allow our soul to rest.  Stuff doesn’t speak into the deepest questions of the heart, such as who will love me?  It just can’t no matter how much we have.  Stuff doesn’t speak back to us how valuable we are.  It just sits there entertaining us.

What if true happiness rests in the awareness of being loved?  If the love of God is true, then the most fundamental questions of the soul can be put to rest.  And if that is true, no matter where we are, we are then not defined by our circumstances.  I love that.

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What Am I Contributing

Ask yourself today, “What am I contributing?”  It’s so easy to get caught up in a consumer culture and get lost in the mode of taking.  But where are you contributing to the culture, your family, your friends, and the world around you?  It is those people who contribute on a regular basis that make a difference in the world.  It is those people who contribute that we remember.

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The One Thing

Ragamuffin Soul asked a really good question. He asked, “If I Would Only [blank], Then They’d Know I Was A Christian…”

The answers are really good and sometimes hilarious. But what caught my attention is that no one, who was being serious, said, “Know more Bible verses” or “Attend more church.” When it really comes down to it, I think we know what it really comes down to. Of the serious answers, about half came down to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and love.

I dig that.

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