Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Makes You Think

I'm not that into Rob Bell, I just recently started looking at some of his stuff. However I came across this quote recently that really makes me stop and think. I thought it could do the same for others as well. So here it is...what do you think ?

Can you imagine what would happen if a group of people with untold resources, passion and energy started asking the question, "How do we hear the cry of the oppressed?". What if they were actually willing to wade into the cultural, economic, racial, global and personal issues involved without fear, with the confidence that no matter how painful, messy and volatile it got, Jesus would guide them the whole way?

You'd have some church on your hands.
- Rob Bell

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


My wife and I went to see this musical recently for her birthday. It was the first show on Broadway for both of us. I told her when she got up we were going to Broadway that night, and to pick a show . We were debating between this and the Lion King. However after asking around this was by far the one everybody recommended. It was awesome. Wicked is based on a book of the same name that tells the story of Elphaba ( The Wicked Witch of the West) and her early history in the land of Oz. It's not a retelling of the Wizard of Oz, although it eloquently weaves that story into the background of the show. This was arguably one of the best musicals I have ever seen (and I have seen quite a few..though not on Broadway), I loved the score, the cast were fabulous, staging and production values are exceptional.

I think that this show works on many levels, and different people can find different things in the show. A 10-year-old likes the twister and the story of how the Scarecrow becomes the Scarecrow. A 16-year-old might love the story of this green girl who becomes accepted, and the popular girl who becomes good. Young adults might get involved in the friendship between these two young women, and the choices and sacrifices we all make in our lives. Older adults might be interested in the story of how governments determine what's wicked and what's good based on how people look. Whatever the reason, the show touches them, and that's why it worked so well, and why I think many people go back to see it over and over. It was a great night, and a great show. If it's ever in your area..go check it out. Has anybody seen it, what did you think ?

Monday, January 22, 2007


It's official..the Steelers have picked a new head coach. I trust the Rooney Family. I've only known 2 coaches in my lifetime and this will be of course the third. Other teams have gone through 3 or 4 coaches. I believe he will carry on the winning tradition we have in the Burgh. The last to head coaches were 37 and 34..one won 4 Superbowls, the other went to 6 AFC Championship games and 2 Superbowls. If anybody is questioning the Rooney's ability to hire a new head coach their either racist or stupid. The teams 1st African American coach and only the 3rd coach in 38 years. Here's to you Coach Tomlin...in other news..it's been a crazy ride since Christmas and New Years..more on that later. Peace

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Changed Perspective, A New Resolution

Happy New Year! The past year seems like it flew by so fast. I say that every year. Here's to a New Year with new resolutions!

Recently I've been listening to a lot of the Urbana 2007 Conference and it's been great. I was listening to a talk from an African preacher on The Global Church from Dec 28th and it was very interesting. Some interesting things that he mentioned were:

> At the beginning of the 20th Century there were 9 million Christian converts in Africa and at the end there were over 360 million. He pointed out that there were over 70 million world wide Anglican Episcopal Christians in the world, and that there were currently more Anglican Christians in Africa than in ALL of Europe and the USA together. I might also add that the Anglican Episcopals in Africa are more conservative than the ones Europe in the USA, espeically when you look at how we ordain homosexuals and approve civil unions in some of our churches here.

> He said in Kenya 80% of people claim to be Christian and that 34 % profess Christ and that equals all of Europe.

> There are more missionaries sent out of the "2/3 world" area then out of the West, and the same is happening in Asia and South America with growth and sending of missionaries.

> In 1900 there were 80% of Christians that lived in the West, today over 75% of Protestant Christians are found in the non western world, and 70% of evangelicals live in the non western world.

I've heard and read how scholars are saying that Christianity is dying, but it's because they are only looking at Western numbers and forgetting about Christianity in the Southern part of the world. The realization is that Christianity is no longer a Western religion. Africa is the FASTEST growing region in the world for church growth with over 23,000! converts a day, and over 8.5 million a year according to the national church growth dictionary. Compare this to the United States of America where we are said to LOSE about 6,000 members a day in our churches.

The center of Christianity is shifting to the 2/3 world, especially in Africa. This isn't something I'm hypothesizing, it's happening. The Church is on the move.

The shift is changing, America is the 3RD largest mission field in the world. We are second only to India and China. We are unable to engage and evangelize our own people. The African church is in the forefront of sending missionaries to do church plants in the USA. This I think is awesome. There is something about our western models that isn't quite working. I'm not bashing every church in the west here..but I'm liking this shift. As we send missionaries from the West to other countries, we should also be accepting and bringing in other missionaries from these other Southern countries. Christ's body is interdependent. The West has a great strength in that we like to solve problems, but we can't go into other countries with the idea that we are going to "fix" them. We need to be listeners and learners, and eager to bring in missionaries from other countries to learn from them and let them fulfill the Great Commission here in the West.

Along with this shift has come a new shift in my thinking as a Christian living in the United States of America. Yes I believe the church is global, yes I believe we need to train pastors and teachers in 3rd world countries especially so false teaching doesn't trickle in, yes there is still ag great need for the Church in the West to use it's gifts overseas. However, take a good hard look and you'll see that it's not just the 10/40 window that needs evangelized, it's also the 3rd largest pagan nation in the world..the USA.

As I look ahead at resolutions for the new year, this year and in the years to come I am committing myself to engaging the culture I'm in and evangelizing the people I live and come in contact with more. We don't need to jump ship, live in a hut in the 10/40 window and see poverty to see broken people and lost souls. We just need to take a good hard look into the eyes of the people we come in contact with everyday and have a passion to share the love of Christ with them. I've asked for the Lords forgiveness recently in my neglect of doing this over the years, my eyes have been open and my calling is becoming more clear. My passion for the church around the world hasn't changed, but my passion for my own culture and people where I live has. Listening to this preacher from Africa and hearing his passion for his culture and his people is so encouraging. As easy as it is for us to hear others talk about their culture and get passionate about other cultures, I think we need to funnel that passion into our own culture where we live and eat everyday, while still keeping a global mindset. Are other parts of the world in need for USA missionaries to still, "GO"...yes, but the United States is still in great need for people to stay, and focus their efforts here. As I continue to live daily in my culture, I see myself leaning more towards this.

Maybe we need to ask ourselves, "If I were a missionary just plopped into the middle of the USA, how would I go about my business?
I would love and appreciate anyones comments on this whether you agree or disagree, or just any thoughts in general. I know the Lord speaks to different hearts in different ways. Have a blessed week.