Monday, April 28, 2008

Revival Generation

I have been grooving to the worship music of Brian and Jenn Johnson lately. They are worship leaders at Bethel Church in Redding, California. There's something passionate and stirring about their worship music and it messes with me in a good way.

This morning on the way into work I was listening to one of their albums on my iPod when "Revival Generation" started playing. About this time, I was approaching an entrance ramp and a line of cars and trucks started merging onto the interstate. At that moment I looked up and saw "City Wide" on the back of a big truck in front of me. It made me smile.

Revival is coming.

Here are the words to the song.

I heard an old man talking of a time that was long ago he said
The fires been dormant for awhile but he was praying
And with this prayer my heart caught fire and now it won’t let go
Cause I found the reason why I’m alive

Were a new breed rising and we’re coming we’re gonna take a stand
There is a new passion burning in our hearts
A new love for Jesus a new hope and a vision
For this revival here we are


Consecrated is who we are its who we’re called to be
We’d rather see revival than build these kingdoms of pride and greed
Fan into flame this revival fire let it burn
Crush your children until our hearts are inflamed

Copyright 1997 Brian Johnson

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Adopting Church

I will admit that God was moving me with disturbing images and stories over the weekend. I watched both “City of God” and “Blood Diamond” over the weekend and had my heart torn to shreds by the imagery that my eyes took in. Today, I read the following story on CNN about a little boy in Africa that flees slavery to return home.

I thought the themes and the political agendas Blood Diamond was pushing in its story was pretty telling. During one part of the movie, Solomon (the African man looking for his family) asks the journalist (who is writing a story on the illegal diamond trade business) whether or not Americans will come to their aid after they read her article. We all know the answer to this question. We watch these movies, read these books, read these stories and articles and we mostly don’t do anything. We shake our heads and say, “That’s a shame. We should really do something about that.” And then we don’t.

This is why we are to become the “Adopting Church”. So that we can partner with a pastor, who partners with a church, which partners with a community, which partners with a village, which partners with a region, which partners with a country… Our prayer is that this adopting church concept becomes viral…that other churches and other affluent people will wake up to what we are called to do.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

For Sale By Owner

I'm sitting at the kitchen table, posted as a sentry carefully watching for someone to step to the front door to knock. Foot traffic has been admittedly slow today with the exception of a young woman and her two little boys. They came right after 1 PM today and I was completely hopeful this was going to be easier than the last time we tried to sell our home. They seemed like the kind of family my wife would want to sell our house to. It doesn't matter if the price is right; we'd like a sweet family to enjoy it years after us.

I do love the fact that we faithfully trust God in this situation. It is, after all, His idea for us to move. We feel the calling and a longing to move a few miles north of here, closer to a community we both grew up in but never figured we'd be back. But God has a really funny sense of humor and we've been serving up at Lutheran Church of Hope NorthBranch for a year and a half. And now it feels like our community...our family...our home.

It reminds of me of how people confuse the word "church" as many immediately gravitate to the word building. But the church is comprised of the people who with one voice worship God. The same feels like it could apply to the word "home." While we live in this yellow house on the corner of Colby and 99th, our home feels like it's in the Ankeny area.

And so I sit here and wait on the Lord. Nope, I'm not waiting for God to knock on the front door. He's already here...he already lives here. But we wait for a buyer and it's in God's hands. So we faithfully wait on Him.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Life Is Too Short

“Work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been hurt, and dance like no one is watching.” Satchel Paige

Yesterday I received an email that broke my heart. One of my friends from church and colleague at work unexpectedly and suddenly passed away at the age of 42. Her name is Lori English and she had a huge heart for God.

She was very active in our church and specifically I got to get to know her better on a short-term missions trip to Jamaica. Her passion was children and she spent most of her week at West Haven Orphanage loving on those beautiful kids. She had a ton of empathy for me when my heart was broken leaving Copse Place of Safety after a visit. She knew what Jesus' heart feels like. She knew the compassion and love He has for his people.

Lori was active in a marketplace ministry that I help organize and she spent a season praying with us here at work. I always loved running into her in the office and catching up.

More recently, she fell in love with Tom and they were engaged to be married this summer. She asked me a few months ago to sing in her wedding and I obliged. I was honored to lead worship for her special day and she already knew she wanted me to sing, "How Great Is Our God" by Chris Tomlin. I hope someone sings it at her funeral. One thing I know for sure; I won't ever be able to sing the song the same way.

As I was lamenting with a friend of mine about this loss, she said to me, "Let's honor Tom and Lori by loving our spouses the same way they were in love." That really rang home for me. It really put things in perspective about how short life is and how we must not take anything for granted, especially the people around us who love us and we love.

It reminded me of the quote I started this post with by Satchel Paige. If this were my quote, I would rearrange a few things in it to read...

“Worship like no one is watching. Love like Jesus. And work as if you're working for the Lord."

As I write this post, I write it with envy as I know that Lori is in good company as she sits at the feet of Jesus today.