Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Praying for GREAT things on Good Friday!

Sorry I'm a day late on posting. My lap-top had an unfortunate run-in with a cup of coffee... the coffee won but we were able to salvage my hard drive... Praise the Lord!

This will be a short post because I'm a playing catch up (thanks to the coffee incident) and we're getting geared up for our Good Friday Gathering. In a nut shell, God has been doing some amazing and difficult things through our church and in the lives of some people in Tacoma. In the past couple of weeks we've seen 3 people put their faith in Jesus for salvation. Although that is not the thousands that we read about in the book of Acts, we truly believe that time is coming! Please pray for Nate, Brandon and Raijoneah as they begin walking in the eternal security of the amazing grace of Jesus!

We have also seen some disappointment this week as we have seen some people take steps backward in their journey with God. Please pray for three unnamed people who are very angry and are running from Jesus. We no God's grace is big enough for them, please just pray that they would jump into the arms of his love.

This Friday is our Good Friday Gathering called "The Passion" for Haiti. We will be watching a portion of "The Passion of The Christ," taking communion, presenting the gospel, baptizing at least 4 and opening it up for new believers and taking a love offering for the people of Haiti. Please pray 3 specific things.

1) Pray that our people would invite their friends and family who don't know Jesus!
2) Pray that those people would choose to follow Jesus (or at least begin the journey)
3) Pray that we are able to start at least 2 new small groups after this gathering!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Preparing for the Harvest

We really believe God has been working in Tacoma for quite some time and a great Harvest is coming that we are just blessed to get to be a part of. On that note we have a huge praise to report. You have all been praying for Nate over the past month and he finally gave his life to Jesus! I was so excited when he called me and told me and I know God has great things in store for him.

Our weekend small groups were fantastic. Friday's with our students are beginning to show some fruit and are becoming a much more effective place for making disciples. Becca H. & Becca E. are leading the girls group and they finally feel like they are beginning to break through some barriers and connect with the girls. I am leading the guys group and we are starting to show some signs of spiritual growth which is very exciting.

We had a great turn out last night and we're starting to see some adults come back that we had lost on Friday nights with the influx of students. One of those returning adults is Cindy, in her 40's I would guess and very spiritually confused. She had disappeared for a while but has come the last 2 Sundays. I challenged her to invite her boyfriend of 20+ years to our Easter gathering and she said there is no way he would go. I challenged her to pray for him for the next week (and I would pray for him too) and then to invite him next Monday and see what God does. His name is Mike and I would ask that you all be praying that the Holy Spirit begins drawing Mike to himself and his response is a testimony to Cindy and many others.

We are very excited about our Easter gathering and we are expecting God to blow our expectations out of the water. We are doing much traditional publicity because we really believe in the relational aspect of ministry. We are challenging and equipping our people to invite their friends and family so please pray for a great spiritual awakening to begin April 2nd!

Thanks for all your prayers!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Moving Forward...

We are continuing to move forward... walking in the grace of Jesus, trying to stay the course and at the same time flex where God calls us to do so.

Our Monday gathering has begun to take shape without structure if that makes sense. Antwon started it and has really take ownership of it. It is a direct out flow as what he passionately describes "my mission." We generally meet at Wright Park and play a little ball before having Bible study. This past Monday Antwon was running late so we decided to crack open God's Word at the park... in the snow! It was really cold but it's amazing what God can do in the most awkward of situations. We had 2 new guys there... a new Nate and a guy named Jerry. We just looked at the first part of Ephesians 2 and talked about the beauty of grace. Jerry gave his life to Jesus! Please pray that he continues to come on Mondays and grows in his new found relationship with Jesus!

Friday has been... unique! 2 Fridays ago we had about 10 people total and only 1 girl. This past week we had at least 9 girls and 9 guys and the Holy Spirit seemed to bash most of the usual distractions. It is very hard to know what direction to go with this group but we are continuing to pray for spiritual depth to precede numerical growth. We'll see what God does.

Sunday nights have not been what I expected but better. Last night we all sat around and hung out, just talking about life in general for about an hour. It is turning into genuine community which is what we have been praying for. However, please keep praying that we don't get too comfortable. We want to grow, reach out, and multiply.

This week please pray for our leadership team. We are really harnessing our callings and shaping our vision. God has been stretching us all and we have all been sharing the gospel a lot more which is amazing. Pray that people will respond. Also pray for our Good Friday gathering April 2nd. We're combining all our groups and using it as an opportunity to worship together, baptize, invite new friends and family... really just a time for more people to know Jesus. Pray that God has his way and that it is a spring board for new groups!

Monday, March 8, 2010

My Kingdom or God's???

Sorry I missed last weeks update. I was in a training class Monday through Thursday and completely forgot! Well, God has been rocking my world the last week or so and my prayer is that he has been doing the same for all of you. I don't have a great update from our Friday and Sunday gatherings this week because I didn't attend either of them. I'm so thankful for the leadership team God has given us because I know that our church is not founded on me. It is the body of Christ and it's foundation is Jesus. When I need to be gone the church continues! Praise Jesus for that! One thing that you can specifically pray for though is that Nate would come to Jesus. He's truly on the verge he just needs to surrender!

The title of today's blog is "My Kingdom or God's???" because although God's kingdom is what we desire to grow through The Pathway, if we don't change the way we are approaching "church" we will continue to focus on growing our churches kingdom instead of the Kingdom of God.

Here's what I mean. If we continue to approach evangelism, discipleship and church planting the way we do right now (and when I say we I mean the majority of evangelical Christians) then we have no hope of impacting the rapidly growing number of lost people living in our nation and North America as a whole. The way we approach these subjects right now is entirely too systematic. Why? Because that's the way we have been taught to think.

We think we have to learn something completely and become an expert before we reproduce it. There are a couple problems with that. If we have to be fully discipled before we begin to make disciples we will never make disciples. If we have to become a self-sustained church that has a "mature" believer who is seminary educated before we can plant a new church, we will never plant any churches (or maybe 1 in our lifetime if we're lucky).

Here's the idea and the paradigm shift that has been occurring in my life and the life of our church. What if we all began sharing our faith weekly (daily would be better but we'll get there) and did not worry about having all the answers or finding ourselves in the perfect relational situation? What if we just shared our faith with the lost people around us and trusted God to do the saving? Then, what if we began discipling these new Christians? What if we began teaching them how to pray, read the Bible and share their faith the day after they got saved? Then, what if we did not wait for them to understand it all, be competent at Bible drill, or even be able to fully articulate the doctrines we strongly believe? What if as we are teaching them all of these necessary aspects of discipleship we challenged them to start sharing their faith weekly (or daily) and begin discipling those in their life that find Jesus? Why don't we do that?

The answer is fear and control? Number one, we are honestly afraid of what these new believers might teach the lost. Although that concern is genuinely motivated it is completely erroneous. If we are continuing to disciple that person they will have someone to come to with the answers to the questions they have and your responsibility becomes keeping them one or two steps ahead of the people they are discipling. This issue leads right into the issue of control. As believers, and especially as pastors, we feel like we have to control the church and the environments in which the Bible is taught and ministry takes place. Again, although this is rightly motivated (at times), it is not biblical and it has no hope of impacting the vast lostness we see in our world today.

So, what do we do?

We have to decide whether we want to "control" what God is doing or if we want to see a "movement" of God. I believe a true movement of God that I have no control over resembles what God did in the book of Acts far more than an impressive church where I call the shots (even if it is growing and succeeding by "our" standards).

Do I have this all figured out? No. What I pray is that we would all be challenged to quit sitting around making excuses, waiting for the perfect scenarios and instead that we would simply start sharing Jesus with people and teaching them to share Jesus with people! What a concept... kind of sounds like the Great Commission to me?!?!