None of us wants to be viewed as "abnormal"...right? And yet, in our world today, society's idea of what's normal seems to be a constantly moving target. For some it means playing it safe. For others, it's all about keeping up with the latest. It varies depending on who we're talking with and what's trending at the time. But maybe we need to take note of what Canadian singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn once wrote. "The trouble with normal is it always gets worse."
Maybe we're not supposed to be "normal". Is it normal to chop a hole in the roof of someone's house so you can bypass a crowd and get healing for a friend? Is it normal to scramble out of a boat in the middle of a stormy lake and try to walk on water to get to Jesus? Is it normal to try to feed five thousand people with five bagels and couple smoked herrings? God seems to think normal is overrated.
Maybe we're supposed to be living lives that cause people around us to wonder...and ask "Why???" With this in mind, we want to continue our conversation with Dan Clites in Part Two of "Live a Questionable Life."
Friends, we’ve been talking a lot in recent weeks about training and releasing Christians to be truly…radically Christian in their day to day lives…right where they are…in every relationship and every sphere of influence.
Our guest for the next couple episodes is a friend and kindred spirit who is doing just that. Dan Clites is the church planting coordinator for Lutheran Congregations in Missions for Christ. Dan is passionate about the Kingdom of God advancing beyond the walls of the church, and he’s pioneering some strategies that are making that vision a reality in the very DNA of churches across North America and breaking into regions around the world.
In this conversation, Dan invites us act up right where we are…seize the opportunity to be who we’re created to be in Christ…and Live a Questionable Life.
I love my church. I love the people, the worship, the contagious sense of God’s presence and the abandoned crazy in love with Jesus atmosphere. And I love that my teenage son loves it too. We were talking over a truck stop lunch after church a couple weeks ago and I asked him why? He said, “It makes me want to worship. And it makes me want to listen to the sermons. They’re real. They remind me that God is real…But mostly it’s because when people come up and ask you how you’re doing, they really want to know. If you’re happy, they’re happy with you. And if something’s bothering you, they really listen. Then they want to stop and pray with you…right then and there.”
When it comes right down to it, isn’t that what being God’s people is really about? Jesus spent most of his time talking about the Kingdom of God. And when his listeners asked what that meant, he told them stories…about real people living real lives doing real things just like them. Then he showed them what the Kingdom looked like by forgiving sins and healing and driving off devils. And when they started asking about who the honored leaders were going to be, he turned the discussion upside down. “Anyone who wants to be great among you needs to be a servant to everybody around.” This kind of love is what the heart of the church should look like, because it’s what the heart of God looks like. And the heart of His Kingdom.
As I thought about this, I was reminded of a conversation with our friend Tim Vink. He was talking about all the different theories and programs for evangelism and discipleship and church building, and finally he paused and sighed and said, “If we just read the New Testament carefully, we quickly discover that 'the church' is not the model for the church. Jesus is the model for the church!"
So this past Sunday we had a guest speaker. I loved what he had to say, and I heard every word. I promise! But as is often the case, there was that one brief point that caught in my spirit and summed it all up. “God doesn’t have a church to which He gives a mission. He has a mission to which He gives the church.” And something inside me said YES!!! The church, the people of God, are His gift to the world. Out of the seats and into the streets. He doesn’t give His Kingdom to the church. He gives the church to His Kingdom! In Jesus, He pours out His love, His power, His glory…and Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to pour those things out through us. All of us. Every one. In every context. At home. At work. Wherever. Right where we are.
This is the topic of our latest episode of Marketplace Kingdom: “Everywhere—A Kingdom Conversation.” We hope you’re blessed!
The prophet Amos asked his hearers, "Do you really know what you're asking for when you call for the Day of the Lord? Do you understand the implications? Do you understand the impact that God's reign will have on how you live your own lives?"
We today could be asked the same questions. We talk about advancing God's Kingdom, and we pray...sometimes with little thought..."Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." But do we really know what we're asking? Do we really understand what the Kingdom of God is and the transformative, disruptive power we're asking God to release into our world and our lives?
This is the focus of this episode of Marketplace Kingdom. We hope it helps you as you seek to live and move in the name of Jesus and the power of His Spirit, disrupt the way things are, transform your world, and advance His Kingdom right where you are!
A while back, I took the opportunity to visit the church of a pastor with whom I'd been talking. That Sunday he poured out his heart from the platform. He
shared a vision for the transforming power of the presence of God moving through their congregation, healing lives and moving people out of the seats and into the streets. The Holy Spirit was palpably present and many were quietly moved to tears. But when he finished and invited people to come forward to pray with members of the ministry team, almost no one did. Many told him afterward how “touched” or “moved” they were by his words, but then quickly left. Others were silent, thoughtful, even struggling…but made their way to the doors and parking lot.
Two days later we met for coffee. When I asked for his thoughts on why so many were touched but so few responded, he was quiet for a long time. Finally said softly, “No one has ever given them permission to want more! No one has ever given them permission to be desperate.”
How often have you been given permission to be desperate? Different? Unique? To get the job done but to do it in your own way? To go after more when others seem satisfied? Does it seem that the “now” and the “how” of the calling you sense just doesn’t quite fit with the reasoned and orderly and dignified “when” and the “way things are done” of those around you? You’re not alone!
This is the topic of today’s Marketplace Kingdom conversation. We hope you’ll join us and invite others to do so as well. It’s time! Listen. Be encouraged…and find “Permission to Be Who You Are!”
We’ve had an amazing year so far, engaging with friends and listeners from nations around the world. We’ve been involved in both large and small conference settings, teleconferencing, and one-on-one conversations with folks who are moving beyond the walls of the church and bringing the message of God’s Kingdom to their cities and regions in Kenya, Ghana, the Gambia, Germany, India, and China, as well as here in North and Central America. And we’re excited about what we’ve learned from these discussions and how they are shaping our efforts going forward.
With all this in mind, we’re opening our fall series of podcasts with a prayer, that you would be released to be who you’re called to be and to do what you’re created to do. Here and now. It’s time! Join us for this conversation: “Released Where You Are!”
When we think of reaching unreached nations with the gospel, we usually think of countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Nations with people groups in remote and undeveloped regions, or closed countries whose governments are hostile to Christianity. But there is a another people group that has been largely ignored by church outreach and missions agencies. Scattered around the globe, they number some 240 million, and less than one percent are Christian.
They are the expatriate community. Diplomats, educators, researchers, business people, industry innovators, technicians and global corporate support personnel. People and families living and working in places other than their nations of birth. These distinctive international communities present a unique opportunity to bring the transforming power of the gospel and God’s Kingdom to people who are hard-wired to be ambassadors to every sphere of influence in nations and cultures around the world.
Our guest on this episode is Kyle Tromanhauser, a pioneer in outreach to the expat community. Kyle and his wife Matilda have been laying the groundwork for an exciting new work based in Munich, Germany. He joins us to share a vision and strategy for truly reaching the nations and impacting the world.
In this powerful conversation, we learn about a growing movement of faith and action that is changing lives and impacting whole regions around the world. Fueled by an understanding that biblical faith calls us all to a faithful stewardship that involves much more than simply our money, this movement is seeking practical ways to demonstrate Christ's love and lordship in every area of life and every sector of society, from the US to rural and urban Central America, Africa and India. Locally led, guided by the Holy Spirit, employing clearly biblical principles, and discovering ways that the good news really can be good news…right where you are!
Our guest is our friend, Dirk Ailts, US Outreach and Strategies Leader for International Steward, a truly unique global ministry engaged in transforming lives and cultures by raising up leaders and influencers to advance the Kingdom of God and impact lives, cultures and nations through the gospel and the message of biblical stewardship. Dirk’s message? Keep it simple and strategic!
Much of what passes for news today plays on people’s fears. It appeals to their personal desires and agendas. And yet in Matthew 6:27-33, the Lord Jesus says, “ Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’For the Gentiles (or pagans) eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Even as Christians, our prayers are often dominated by our personal concerns and fears. But according Jesus, this is the way pagans pray. On the other hand, He taught us to pray and focus on a different priority. The Kingdom. “Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
That is the focus of our conversation this installment of Marketplace Kingdom.
This is our second episode with Charles Kim, diversity coordinator for Christian Reformed missions, prayer leader, and director of Prayer Summit 2017. Charles is back with us to continue our conversation on prayer for such a time as this. Prayer that rises from a heart that cries “Father, thy kingdom come…thy will be done…”
In discussing strategies for understanding and engaging our world biblically, one theme that comes up over and over is the centrality of prayer and the presence of God. As Christians, there is no part of life that doesn’t need to be bathed in prayer. There is no area that cannot be redeemed and transformed by the power of Christ and the present work of the Holy Spirit.
Charles Kim shares this vision in a big way. Charles is a former pastor, church planter, and director of Korean ministries for the Christian Reformed Church, and is currently moving into the role of diversity leader for the denomination’s combined home and world missions agency. Charles’ efforts organizing and leading prayer summits over the last five years has placed him in the forefront of awakening a passion for prayer in churches and regions all across north America.
He joins us on this episode to talk about that passion and about the national prayer summit being held in Los Angeles on March 27, 28, and 29. We hope you’re encouraged by our conversation on “Passion and Prayer for Such a Time as This.”