Friday, June 23, 2006

The West Texas Winds

After a night of storms, multi-car pile ups, and one fatality here in Lubbock, TX, the winds have died down. Here's a couple of pictures from the dust storm yesterday. It's like something from "The Mummy." This wall of dust was 70 - 100 miles in length.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

When Cleaning the Men's Room...

It's important to wear gloves. But, if you wear gloves and then wipe the sweat from your forehead with your hand that is wearing the aforementioned gloves, you've defeated the purpose of wearing said gloves... It's about the same as putting your hands on your knees while wearing those same gloves...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Oh, the agony

My Mavs, My Mavs, once again my heart's been broken as you build my hopes and squash them from a lack of mental toughness.

Not that I'm superstitious, I guess the real problem was with the Dallas city council announcing the Championship Parade Route after game 2. What were they thinking?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Going, Going, Gone

Well, it happened today. Nathan and Elaine officially drove out of Lubbock. For those of you who don't know, Nathan and Elaine are long time friends and original members of The Journey. I've known Nathan since he was a teenager. I've had the opportunity to watch him grow into a Godly man. In the 7 years I've known him, we have walked through some tough times together. He even lived with us for a short time a few years back. More than anyone else in my life, he's been my Timothy. He has been our Lead Worshipper since The Journey began. It was hard to say goodbye last night, even though we know we will see each other a couple times a year, at the least.

I've known Elaine for almost 2 years. She's a relatively new friend, but I've had the privelege of watching the "lights come on" for her in reguards to missional living. Having grown up Church of Christ and then non-denom., what we started at The Journey stretched her sometimes. But she gets it. And, more importantly, she's started living it and teaching it to others. She and Nathan are funny, and fun to be around. They will be sorely missed as they head off for the next chapter of their lives at seminary in Ft. Worth.

Nate & Elaine, thanks for all you've done; your generocity and kindness, and your willingness to step in and do what needed to be done. Do well, be blessed, and keep the faith. More than anything else, cling to Jesus. And always know that you have family in Lubbock.
Peace - Jase

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Unpacking Origins Pt. 3 - Creativity

It's so great to be home, even though the rafting adventure was GREAT!

If you've never rafted, you should give it a try. This was my 4th trip down the Arkansas river. I've hit the Royal Gorge three times. This trip was much more leisurely, though. We had several beginners and one girl from our group who was 12 years old. So, we did Big Horn Canyon. As you can see by the picture, the Royal Gorge can be brutal. But Big Horn Canyon was two soild class III rapids and the rest was just floating at about 2450 cfs. I had a lot of time to enjoy and think as we just floated the 22 mile trip. And, as has happened a lot lately, my thoughts drifted back to Origins. In Romans 1, Paul reminds us that God's invisible qualities are revealed in His creation. The beauty of the canyon reminded me that we have a very creative Deity. Since we are created in His likeness, we are designed with this same creative bent. Too many people think that they must be artistic to be creative. The truth, though, is that as humans we are creative. All of us. We're just creative in different ways.

So, here's my dilema: it seems that much of what we do as a church looks like some sort of cloning of the world around us. I've mentioned this before (Cloning Culture), but with a different emphasis. As I think about this now, I realize that we stiffle the creativity of people by asking them to replicate safe versions of things we find in our culture, or to plug into our prepackaged model that someone else has had success with. As the body of Christ, we possess all the creativity we need to be what the church ought to be; a relevant expression of faith and spirituality to a hopeless world. Navigating The Journey means I am charged with unveiling and unleashing the creativity of our people. Instead of trying to plug them into the mold that I envision, I should be striving to help them develop their character and tap into their divine creativity so that they can do life as God intended. I am giddy with anticipation of a faith community that God uses to impact our culture in a way that no other community can because of the individuals He has brought together for The Journey. The challenge for me is to get out of the way and let the body be the body in a wonderfully diverse and creative way. Instead of designing a plan, simply cast the vision and allow the body to uniquely and creatively accomplish the vision.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Convection Oven Speed Ball

Imagine coaching a baseball team...well, a t-ball team that uses a baseball. Now imagine that team being made up of boys and girls ages 4 - 6. Add to that the fact that it's 105 degrees here in Lubbock, and you can begin to imagine what our first t-ball practice was like last night.

Many of you know of my love for baseball, and that I played ball into college. I love the sport, and was excited that my children have shown an interest in America's sport. So, in my excitement, I signed on to be an Assistant Coach for the Orioles, Jeremiah and Cayla's team. My traveling schedule and my work schedules really prohibit me from doing much more than that, or so I thought and explained to the lady who told me last Thursday that I was THE coach for the team. It seems that as the only one to say I would help, I got the whole thing. And it doesn't matter that I'll be gone for 5 of the 11 games...

So, last night we had our first practice. My team has 13 kids on it, 12 of whom showed up, and most of whom have never played. So, in the 105 degree heat, I did my very best to teach, hold their tiny attention spans, and still make progress. It went pretty well, I think. Caryn made much of it happen with the behind the scenes prep (snacks, etc.). Try to imagine playing t-ball in fast forward speed while in a convection oven and you'll get a feel for how it was last night. But this is the ideal thing for me/us to be involved in. The Journey will sponsor the practices, helping with the kids, and serving the snacks at every practice. We'll build relationships with the kids and their parents. The season lasts through July 17th, so we have a few weeks to get to know the families involved. Pray for us! PRAY FOR ME! Tomorrow night, I'll get there early to work with one of my boys, Roosevelt, who has potential to throw both ways. His dad mentioned that he'd love for Roosevelt to learn to do both, so I told him we'd meet early each week to work on it.

And for all you Journey pilgrims, thanks for your help with the snacks last night. If you want to come and help with practice tomorrow night, be there at 5:15 (same place).

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Unpacking Origins - Pt. 2

Envisioning how we train our future leaders for The Journey brings me to the concept of discipleship. Having served in a pastoral role for nearly 18 years in various churches, I believe discipleship is greatly misunderstood among USAmerican believers. There has been a movement among churches to do a better job of discipling their membership. I've even heard people say that they miss the days of "training union," an old term for a discipleship program of the local church. In many of the churches that I have served, leadership realized that they were falling behind in discipleship, and they pushed to introduce programs designed to deepen the faith of the believers in their flock. Along with this movement, publishers have packaged, repackaged, and promoted a plethora of materials for this need. You've seen some of them: Experiencing God, The Purpose Driven Church/Life/Worship/lawn mowing/whatever, Master Life, The Mind of Christ, Beth Moore's stuff, etc. All great materials written by Godly men and women. All designed to help us get a greater grasp on God's Word and will for our lives. The problem, as I see it, is two fold.

1) How much more knowledge do we need? I am constantly reminded that James said that those who hear and don't do are like men who look in the mirror and immediately forget what they saw. Please hear my heart on this. Being one who has a master's degree in divinity, I see the importance of knowledge and study. I've been a student of some sort all my life. But what good does it do for us to have more and more knowledge that we never apply? Sure, we could win Bible Jeopardy, but we're losing our communities. As more and more churches strive to find the right program for their people to have a deeper faith, they need to ask how their people are already putting into practice what they are learning. Maybe the best discipleship model would be to find someplace to spend your free time and practice what you've learned before we move onto the next thing to learn... I am reminded of a story about a young Pastor who came to his new church and preached a great sermon on his first Sunday there. The people were amazed. Then, the next Sunday he preached the exact same sermon. The people were a bit confused, but it was a good sermon, so they didn't mind too much. The third Sunday he again preached the same sermon. The people were a little put out. So much so, that the head Deacon approached the young Pastor after the service and pulled him aside. When the Deacon asked the Pastor if he realized he'd preached the same sermon for the last three weeks, the Pastor responded with, "Yes, I know. And once we start living that one, I'll get onto the next one."

2) Who was the focus of New Testament discipleship? When Jesus told Peter to feed His sheep, Pete didn't call the 12 together for a weekly Bible study on living with purpose and meaning. Instead, he went and proclaimed Christ to the people of Jerusalem and 3,000 were saved. Looking at the Great Commission of Matthew 28, we see that making disciples is tied heavily to the proclamation of Christ as savior and people coming to faith. I believe that we have greatly misunderstood that discipleship includes everyone, especially those who have not yet embraced the faith. Since the ultimate goal of discipleship is making disciples, consider this in light of Merriam-Webster's definition of a disciple: "one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another." As disciples, discipleship is the calling of our lives. And in it's purest form, discipleship is accepting and spreading the doctrines of another (in our case, The Christ).

How do I unpack this? It's paramount that I know the doctrines of The Christ in order to live well and and to teach them to others, especially those who need to be saved by Christ. But I can't wait until I know all I need to know. Like Peter, what I know at this point must be shared. Like Paul, I understand that I must pass along what I know to those who will be faithful to pass it on to others. Christ's call for each of us is to make disciples while being disciples ourselves. I firmly believe that the future leadership of The Journey will be people reached through the discipleship process; that is the spreading of the kingdom and the spreading of the doctrines of Christ. In those we reach, we will invest. This is discipleship, and it's how people will realize their great potential for the kingdom. That potential is what I'll "unpack" next.