THE OPTIMIST CLUB

THE OPTIMIST CLUB

I do it for “the one”.

Even if it’s just a moment.

A little can mean a lot.

I will fully admit I am chronically optimistic. The glass is almost always half full in my life. More often than not I am able to find something to be glad about. I’ll also admit, I think I’m quite a bit more pleasant to be around then those who are chronically pessimistic, although I’m sure some would disagree. The reality is that in this world we live in I believe we need a few more people to be chronically optimistic with me. Life is hard, walking with Jesus is hard, and the world is awfully dark. And yet, but still, we serve a good God.

SENT

SENT

I have been stunned as I read through the book of John to notice how often Jesus tells his listeners that He was sent by the Father. It seems that He concludes almost every statement with the qualifier “because The Father has sent me,” and that He consistently deflects attention from Himself and towards “the One who sent me.”

  
Curious, I did a little study on the word “sent” in the book of John and found 41 times that it is used by Jesus in this way.

For example:
4:34 My food is to do the will of the one who sent me
5:30 I seek not to please myself, but him who sent me

APPROACHING MISSIONS

APPROACHING MISSIONS

When I first moved to Paris, I wasn’t necessarily sure as to what to expect as far as cross-cultural ministry. I’d been overseas before, having lived in multiple European cities, and having traveled to Africa, but I hadn’t yet been a part of an established ministry center. 

After being here seven months on the ground, I can tell you that my approach and viewpoint of cross-cultural ministry has completely shifted. God has continued to show me time and time again how He wants to shape the culture over here, and what I can be doing to come alongside Him in His plan for here. 

Before embarking on your internship, my advice would be to prepare yourself in every way possible before getting on location. Here are a couple ideas of what you might want to do to prepare yourself for your internship.

FROM BROKENNESS TO LIFE

FROM BROKENNESS TO LIFE

As I sit on a plane, flying back from Miami to Georgia, I’m struck by how different this spring break was compared to last. That’s an understatement, though, because it’s not just the spring break that is different.

It’s me.

If you were to tell me a year ago that I would be spending my Spring Break sophomore year of college in charge of and leading a missions trip to Miami, I would have laughed in your face. Not maliciously - I just would never have imagined possessing the confidence, skills, or relationships that I have now.

This time last year I was coming to terms with just how broken I am as a person. I was overwhelmed. Past hurts, anxiety, consistent sadness, and fear were all I could see in myself. I knew I could give the brokenness to God, but I didn’t really know what that looked like.

THE GREAT SURPRISER

THE GREAT SURPRISER

Often I think of faith as charging in where God directs, even though everything inside wants to pull back. Faith as blind, almost insane obedience. I think of Jesus riding into Jerusalem not knowing how God’s plan was going to play out, only that it would.

But it’s sometimes hard to grasp faith like this, sitting where we are looking back at the story. We already know how the story ends, and so it’s easy to assume they somehow did too.  

As I look at the Easter narrative this year, a small passage in Luke 23 stands out to me:

“On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.”

PASSION

PASSION

My generation (those of us in our 20’s, and 30’s) has informally been dubbed the “Passion Generation.” Evidently because we’re full of fire and zeal and a longing to change the world!  I’m exceedingly expectant that because of this great passion, today’s young adults will affect major changes in issues of poverty, trafficking, creation care, disease eradication, racial reconciliation, reaching the lost and more.

But passion alone can’t accomplish long-term fruit. Movements that are just fueled by righteous indignation and fervor can quickly burn out, or their focus gets distorted, or their leaders go crazy, or they don’t actually accomplish anything except hyping people up.

I’ve seen too many of my friends, not to mention myself, be quick to jump on every train that says it’s off to make a difference. It’s just so exciting to take a stand on something that matters! And, don’t get me wrong—that can be a good thing.  Praise God that more and more people are finding creative ways to engage our society in helping a world in need. I just wonder if deep change and lasting impact comes that… easily… and if it really looks that… cool.

LENTEN DEVO

LENTEN DEVO

The Christian life is given a voice in the telling of a story. It is a story of how the Creator of all things is working to restore a broken universe, a universe broken by the very creatures God created. In particular, this story focuses on how God became human and took on the role of a servant, so that those who trusted in God could be redeemed from their condition of sinfulness.

Often in telling this story we place an emphasis (rightly so) on the way that Jesus’ death on a cross is a key event in God’s plan to redeem humanity. Sometimes, though, we neglect a very important element in the equation: the resurrection. While the death of Jesus is important to emphasize, it would all have been for nothing without the resurrection.

FOCUS

FOCUS

This week I've been feeling a bit out of sorts with a loss of focus.

I love rhythms and routine, and when those things are interrupted I feel out of focus. On Monday, we moved our offices at work and that threw me off in terms of preparing for the week at work. At home, I've been waking up later than usual and haven't had my time in the morning to focus and get going. This happens every now and again and it used to take me days to get focus back. I've learned some things that have helped me get my focus back in minutes rather than days. It's a three step “Process for Focus.” I hope it helps you like it helps me:

REFRAMING SHORT-TERM MISSIONS, PART 2

REFRAMING SHORT-TERM MISSIONS, PART 2

This is a continuation of our first blog on reframing short-term missions, found here

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Moving from FOR to WITH (Us & Those We Serve)
Poor posture: The Church in the Majority World looks like the Church in the West, and the Western Church sets the tone for what the global Church looks like, acts like, is motivated by, etc. 

Often times we in the West see ourselves as representative of global Christianity today. Which may have certain ones of us stressed out, given the way things are going in our postmodern society. Christianity is not thriving in Western culture; some would say it’s on its way out. With globalization on the rise and the spread of the gospel in the last 50 years, you may be surprised to learn that the average Christian is more likely to be an African woman than a white American or European. In the words of Paul Borthwick, the Church today is nonwhite, nonWestern, and nonwealthy. The Church is spreading fastest among some of the poorest ethnic groups in the world, and in some of the most dangerous places. Korea is the second largest mission-sending nation. It’s estimated that by the year 2025 there will be more than 1 billion believers in Africa. 

REFRAMING SHORT-TERM MISSIONS, PART 1

REFRAMING SHORT-TERM MISSIONS, PART 1


Short-term missions are a controversial part of the missions landscape today...From stories of modern day colonialism, to hyper-emotional narratives about participant life change (separated from any tangible impact on the ground), to missions “tourism,” where it seems like the trips are more about visiting an exotic new place (and taking an inordinate amount of selfies) than they are about partnering in ministries for the long haul.
 
As a part of the landscape, we believe that short-term missions are here to stay, but we also believe that somewhere along the way, our posture became a bit skewed. Wrong posture leads to misalignment, often resulting in pain or damage done to the Body. By reassessing where we’ve gone wrong, and focusing again on solid biblical (not cultural) missiology, we can redeem these short-term experiences for the benefit of the Church.