Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Global E4 / APEST Traction

I am a very fortunate man - blessed if you wish.

It is 12:46 am here in London, of course I am a little jet lagged having just flown in from LA yesterday morning. I forgot to put my melatonin in my bag, so tonight is a wonderful night of prayerful reflection and faith filled anticipation.

The year started off with a sprint. After a few days off over the Christmas, and New Year window, Meryl & I were privileged to host a remarkable gathering of men and women in OC. It started in March last year, when Alan Hirsch and I were having coffee and chatting around the question: "How is the notion of the Ephesians 4 gaining traction in the USA?" The idea was born to send out an invite to around 30 folks who may be pivotal to this conversation in the USA and invite them to a two day conversation in LA.

We sent out the invite and amazingly only three could not make it. Not only were the others keen but we had many asking to be part of the condo but we had to turn them away. Dear reader, it had to be God. How could we get as diverse a group such as Rick Warren, Bob Roberts, Neil Cole, Mike Breen, Alan Hirsch, Todd Proctor, Mike Slaughter, Dave Ferguson, Al Barth, Ed Stetzer, Hugh Halter and others all in the same room? It was a remarkable time.

Trying to find the mind of the Lord, without any one person trying to impose their position on the others, was amazing to watch. Everyone took notes, Everyone asked questions. Everyone had opportunity to speak, be heard and to engage with humility and passion. Everyone believed this was pivotal to the future of the church in America.

Then yesterday I landed here in London with a similar agenda. Here however, the relationships are older and deeper. The histories together more substantial and there is apostolic fruit on the table. What an incredible privilege. I was the only one who knew everyone present. We are gathering to learn from the old war horse Terry Virgo -  a most remarkable man who has over 30 years in the saddle, of planting churches all over the world with a most amazing band of brothers, a family of churches called New Frontiers. Sitting 'at his feet' to learn from his journey includes Mike Eltringham from Dubai, Rory Dyer from Durban RSA, Todd Proctor from Costa Mesa OC, John Mark Comer from Portland Oregon, Darren Rouanzoin from Long Beach, Andrew Thomson from Capetown RSA, Craig Clarke from Johannesburg, Keath Gaitskill from Kingston UK, Joel Virgo from Brighton [for 1 day], Will Marais from Capetown... and the list goes on [Unfortunately Andrew Selley had to pull out at the last minute with the passing of one of his elders - our prayers to them all]

These are remarkable men whom I love deeply. Both older and newer friendships, we have done some time together and have found the Father together. I love the fact that there is no pressure to start something simply the delight of enjoying each other and letting God author our next steps.

Time to sleep...

Saturday, January 12, 2013

2013 and Favor

This is going to be a very intriguing year.

For many, it is going to be the "year of the Lord's favor". They will step out from the 2012 nightmare - dark and dank, finding new space in the favor of God. Of course, we are always in grace, however, there are seasons of pain, trauma, uncertainty, vulnerability which force us in the everlasting arms of our God.

Then the season changes, The wisps of spring begin to bring in new fragrances of the color, texture and beauty of favor. Same God, different season.

In the joy of this discovery comes the rhythms of obedience that will produce much fruit. This is how Jesus described it:

"The wind blows where it wishes and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit" [less strategy, more obedience]

"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world but in order that the world might be saved through him" [less condemnation, more witness]

"My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work" [less my dreams. more his work]

"I say to you the Son can do nothing of his own accord but only what he sees the Father doing" [less activity, more meditative prayer]

"For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me" [less about me, much more about Him]

"And this is the will of him to sent me that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me" [less preoccupied by the new thing, more invested with those he has given me]

"I do nothing of my own authority but speak just as my Father taught me" [less personal opinions, more clear divine instruction]

These texts from John continue to shift us from the preoccupation with our own 'majesty' and draw us into ever increasing affection, praise and surrender to Him. In the time of favor, we are not to consider this as our due, or our reward. It is not. It is simply acts of divine kindness of which we are most underserving.