Millennials, Morality, and the Mess We’re In

TreeCathedral_Ståle GrutTheologian Wayne Grudem’s recent article entitled, “Why Voting for Trump is a Morally Good Choice,” has sparked a firestorm of controversy. He has touched a nerve, particularly along a fault line within the Evangelical world. Grudem asserts there is a moral high ground for the Evangelical to choose Donald Trump for President. Apparently that “high ground” is actually to choose the lesser of two evils. Trouble is, Grudem’s expertise as a theologian has led him to the slippery hubris of believing he is now also an expert in politics. Jonathan Merritt, Religion News (July 3, 2016) cries foul in his op ed piece, Wayne Grudem, Donald Trump, and admitting when you’re not an expert. My aim in this response is to appeal to voters in the United States, especially Millennials, to put the current political mess into context, to see the proverbial forest through the trees.

Matt Emerson questions Grudem’s support for Trump with his article #NeverTrump – Responding to Wayne Grudem (JULY 30, 2016). Emerson concedes that Grudem and any Evangelical has the right to choose which candidate and which moral high ground they wish to stand on when voting. However, Emerson then contradicts his own advice and becomes an expert at character assessment. He argues that Trump’s character is worse than Hillary’s, and he chastises Evangelicals who questioned Bill Clinton’s moral authority to lead: “If ‘character matters’ applied to Bill Clinton, then surely it applies to Donald Trump.”

Careful Matt, President Clinton’s impeachment wasn’t about character; it was about lying under oath and the rule of law. We must be careful, especially in this “dumpster fire” of a campaign season, not to conflate personal or religious views with legal and political views.

Amy Gannett’s personal blog post, Why Evangelicals are Losing an Entire Generation, has me more concerned than the others. I’m glad this younger Evangelical has added something to this discussion. I too am an Evangelical. I also hold to Evangelical theology. And I have attended two Evangelical schools, including Fuller Theological Seminary where I received an MA in Global Leadership. However I must admit I do not know Grudem. I do know that Grudem supports a conservative complementarian view, which I oppose because it precludes women from specific functions of ministry within the Church. For that issue alone, I will not be in any hurry to read his work. But rather than get into that doctrinal quagmire, I hope to appeal to my Millennial friends who follow Christ to gain some perspective by listening to those of us from an older generation.

Gannett comes from the perspective of the Millennial generation, those born 1990 and beyond. I have high hopes for Millennials. The Millennials are the generation that, according to Strauss and Howe’s Generational Theory, Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069, are “smart, organized, and preparing to do their duty.” And it’s true that many are stepping up to make a difference.

This generational cycle is a “Crisis era,” in which the War on Terror is our generation’s secular crisis which tends to influence Millennials to emphasize community, the over-protective nurture of children, and less risk-taking. But the crisis the Millennials are facing is not like the crises of previous generations.  Many Millennials are responding or preparing to respond to crises by establishing institutions to protect and preserve the next generation. They are a generation that concerns itself with the “common good.” For example, Millennials respond to calls from Bono to help in the global HIV/AIDS crisis, however a significant portion have yet to get involved beyond clicking “Like” on a social campaign.

Granted, Millennials are a mixed group. Some have always had internet devices, while the earlier group did not. That said, Millennials have all had access to instant information when they sought it, access no other generation has had the privilege to enjoy. However access to information does not make a person an authority on a subject. In fact, that instantaneous access gives a person a false impression of “knowing.”

While Gannett’s post was thoughtful, she has exposed a tendency I have witnessed among Millennials. Not all, but many Millennials present themselves very confidently, as if they “know” better than those who came before them. Confidence is good, except when it leads a person to make judgments that betrays their ignorance. Gannett admits to a limited perspective, but then she oversteps with her summation of the years before Millennials came of age. She writes, “We haven’t known the days of peace and tranquility that older generations reminisce about and desire to return to.”

Gannett has bought the narrative of the New Democratic Party, on several points.

I’m glad Gannett is concerned about traditional moral concerns of Evangelicals. But she argues that Millennials are concerned about more than the rights of the unborn, that concern for life should be demonstrated in every sector. Agreed. Gannett apparently writes on behalf of all Millennials with her concern that Evangelicals may be losing that entire voter block that missed out on the “days of peace and tranquility.”

However she argues against Grudem’s moral hierarchy. Then she declared her own moral hierarchy and that of her generation. This is a problem that needs further discussion. There may be different hierarchies of moralisms, however moralisms in our democratic republic are inherently political. And there are primary moral issues that reasonably become moral imperatives for the Evangelical community.

Moralisms in the public square are inherently based on an ambiguous moral value that emerges from a changing social consensus. Some argue that their moralism is more important than another’s. But who decides which social justice concern is more important than another? And how is that justice imposed? That is by definition politics, and political discourse.

Please don’t misunderstand me. As an Evangelical, I’m not against concerns of social justice, racism, human trafficking, or legal immigration. However, I believe it is better for the Evangelical community to emphasize concern for the justice due the Lord, which is more apt to produce justice for all, and not a particular group. Moral imperatives are best presented to a moral community.

Best to acknowledge that the sphere of governance is different than the sphere of church or religion. Best to stay in your lane when referring to religious or political issues. Best for the political discourse to follow the second amendment of the Constitution, which states that:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Gannett seems to have accepted the left wing talking points. She has mischaracterized Evangelicals and the generation that preceded the Millennials. Evangelicals are not monolithic and they are certainly not the robust political group they were in the ‘80s. Gannett writes, “These are the days in which we have grown up. We haven’t known the days of peace and tranquility that older generations reminisce about and desire to return to.” As one of those from the “older generations,” I can’t say I desire to return to those days.

During the Carter years, Soviet aggression advanced into four sovereign states, including Mozambique, Angola, Nicaragua, and Afghanistan. Nobody was very optimistic about a job or making a living. In other worlds, life before 1990 was not easier.

Gannett’s litany of “benefits” of the era before the Millennial generation is way off. Liberals have equated the traditionalist view with the modern conservative platform. Simply untrue. Not at any time during my 58 years have I heard the meme that “Women were in the home raising the children without complaint”, unless it was as an Archie Bunker punch line on the ’70’s sitcom All in the Family.

I am a late member of the Boomer generation. As a grade school student in southern California, we had fire drills and nuclear attack drills. Like others in the “older generations,” I witnessed Reagan’s long road to the Presidency, from his early involvement in the ‘60s to his eventual nomination in 1980. I was not a Christian, nor an Evangelical, until after I graduated from college, and after Reagan became our 40th President. It was then that I gave my life to Christ, but I still had no idea what an “Evangelical” was. And I have never signed a card or taken a pledge to be an “Evangelical.”

Unlike Millennials, my generation faced double digit inflation and interest rates. Prime reached 21%. I got an economics minor, and I witnessed Reagan’s GOP opponent in the primary and eventual running mate, George H.W. Bush, label his plan so dangerous it was “Voodoo Economics.”

Reagan was considered even more dangerous to our national security. He called out the Soviet Union as an “Evil Empire,” setting on edge the entire “Give Peace a Chance” movement, which includes most of the modern Democratic Party today.

Millennials really don’t know all that they think they know. Life after 1990 had some of the fastest economic growth in modern history. We have lived in relative peace, with the vast portion of the population enjoying rapid advances in technology with increasing access to conveniences, comforts, and entertainment. Despite the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, for the most part, only military families have made any real sacrifices.

No, there were no “good old days”.  Despite Trump’s “Make America great again” campaign slogan, Evangelicals and “older generations” do not look back at the days prior to 1990 with longing. We do not wish to keep women barefoot and pregnant. Ms. Gannett admits, “our generation doesn’t quite know what that [make America great again] means.” She muses about how Millennials “look back” and “see how far our society has come.” Yes, we have come a long way baby. How do people think progress has happened?

Progress, not progressivism, has been the result of multiple generations of Evangelical leaders making a difference with Religious Freedom, Abolition, Women’s Suffrage, and Civil Rights.

Millennials have had extraordinary advantages over previous generations. It’s true they have been exposed to greater diversity and international travel. However, just like digital access, physical access to people and places does not make a person an expert. I’m not an expert on diversity, even after 30 years of working with friends and colleagues from over 50 countries. I am an American who celebrates diversity and my family has hosted internationals including Saudi Arabian students in my home.

I am grateful for the rights, freedoms, and protections afforded as an American. However, I understand those freedoms and rights do not come from our Constitution; they come from God. It was primarily Evangelicals who framed the Constitution. Virtually all the Amendments to the Constitution have been an outworking of the genius and the foundational values of that original document. Sadly, I have observed the forgetfulness of modern Evangelicals from all generations. Boomers should not be exalting the United States as some kind of replacement of Israel. And Millennials should not forget the Evangelical foundations that continue to endure in this nation. However, rejecting nationalism, especially when conflated with religion, is not wrong.

When Gannett complains that “Evangelical leaders are going to lose an entire generation of Christians,” she may be making an honest appeal for “older generations” to “win us back.” I don’t reject the challenge Gannett has made to decry the “evils that…are supported by Trump.” However, I make a similar challenge to Gannett and her Millennial generation: Learn what this nation represents to the world. Recognize that making America great again is not an appeal to some by-gone days. Instead, it is an appeal to the values, the vision, and the veracity of the Evangelical message. Rather than present yourself as an expert and calling on everyone else to win your entire generation back, humble yourself and join the work that has been going on for centuries before you.

Christmas Fears

I recently heard the story of a woman who, at Christmas, saw a nativity scene in front of a church. She said, “Oh, Lord! They bring religion into everything. Look, they’re dragging it even into Christmas now.”

This is the modern pagan. The pre-Christian pagan is like a virgin and the post-Christian pagan is like a divorcee, according to the late Lesslie Newbigin. This Christmas you will see people rushing from place to place, in shops, at parties, and at various school events. Some have hope for a future, while others have given up hope. It’s true of Christians too. Some have circled the wagons, and now they simply wait for Jesus to come rescue them from this world. Which are you?

Last week I was in Bangalore, India teaching in YWAM’s School of Biblical Christian Worldview. I was presenting the history, the purpose, and the future of the University, especially as it relates to the Great Commission and making disciples of nations.

This small class of emerging leaders in South Asia are preparing to make a difference for the future of India and the world. They are dreaming God’s dreams for universities, businesses, health care, education, the environment and government service. Do you dream God’s dreams for the future?

If Christmas is about Jesus coming from heaven to earth, shouldn’t we be dreaming of engaging the world with his word and his works? When I teach, I ask questions. I began this week of lectures in India with a question I heard on a video clip of Skye Jethani. He asks: “If Jesus were not in heaven, would you still want to go?”  If we are fixed on escaping this world, we will not effectively engage our world, let alone our neighborhood. If we are to make a difference as an agent of transformation in our world, we must first be transformed.

I’m still jet-lagging a bit after 24 hours of flights over Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. However, I’m still asking questions, especially about Christmas. For example, why do people shop for gifts that are predestined for destruction, with a built-in obsolescence? How could I, amid all the hustle and bustle, the colors and lights, celebrate the beauty of the image of God represented in the Christ-child? When can I gaze upon that face and, in doing so, see the image of God engraved in every human being by his artistry and craftsmanship? This Christmas will I, even when my bank account is empty, when my strength is weak, still sing “Joy to the world, the Lord has come”?

Last night we hosted our monthly informal gathering of a group we call “Luminaries”. We come from many fellowships in South Jersey. Each month we meet in different houses in different communities; and we come with “no agenda, just Jesus”. We share our God stories, our love for Jesus, and we share a meal. It’s that simple.

Last night we ventured out to bless our neighbors by singing Christmas carols. The reception was amazing. One lady jumped up and down with joy. Another said, “I’m 73 years old and this is the first time carolers have come to my house.”

One of my favorite Christmas carols is O Little Town of Bethlehem. You know that line, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.” Yes, Christmas is time to deal with our fears. Probably our greatest fear is the unknown, the unfamiliar future. Mary’s fiancé, Joseph, was afraid. The angel Gabriel appeared to him in a dream with this message:

“Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary home as your wife. The baby inside her is from the Holy Spirit. She is going to have a son. You must give him the name Jesus. That’s because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21
Like you and me, Joseph didn’t know what was going to happen in his future. However Joseph’s situation was different. Mary had told him that she was pregnant, but was still a virgin. Wait, whaaaat? The angel said, “Do not be afraid.” What?!?
What are you afraid of? Things you don’t understand? It’s frightening when you realize obeying Jesus will affect your reputation. Today’s world is a scary place. Stop a moment to ask yourself how you are responding to fear. Are you grasping hold of something for security?
I recall a time as a small boy in Los Angeles when my parents were fighting. It was loud and scary. My four brothers and I were huddled together staring at our small black and white TV. We were too young and too afraid to process what was going on in the other room. So we distracted ourselves with TV. Are you so afraid that you don’t know what to do, so you distract yourself with shopping, entertainment, work?  To you, I share the words of the angel: “fear not.”
If you are like me, you have watched “A Charlie Brown Christmas” many times. Linus is the little guy who carries around his blue security blanket. Nobody can separate Linus from his blanket. But there is a moment when Linus drops his blanket. Watch the this scene when Linus shares “what Christmas is all about.” Linus drops his security blanket at the exact moment when he quotes the book of angel, “fear not”.
CharlieBrownLinusSnow
My Christmas wish for you is that the birth of Jesus separates you from your fears. This Christmas, I pray that you will dream God’s dream for your world. My prayer is that you will declare “God is in this!”

I believe Jesus came from heaven to earth to make a real difference here. The gospel is not good news unless it is proclaiming Jesus as Lord over every sphere of society, every hope and every fear.

Tomorrowland

  
Last week in Townsville, Australia we celebrated the biggest group of graduates of the University of the Nation’s in history. Associates, Bachelors, and two cohorts of Masters degree students received the commendation of the President, Provost, and all 1300 YWAMers from 77 nations gathered. These graduates represent hope for tomorrow.
On my flight from Singapore to Tokyo, my conversation with the man sitting next to me took a sad turn. He’s a merchant marine on his way back to sell his condo in Boston and build his new house on 12 acres in Maine. He said, “When the nukes go off in about eight years from now, radioactive fallout will be driven across much of the midatlantic, but the currents won’t reach Maine.” 
He asked what I do and I replied that I’m a missionary equipping people from many nations with a gospel of hope, and practical service in every sphere of influence. He said he’s a Christian too, but “People aren’t prepared for the end times.”

It seems we have two very different views of the future. Two very different gospels. 

One, I believe, is filled with fear and despair resulting in desperate acts of self-protection. The other is marked by faith and hope for a future that ultimately fulfills Christ’s great commission to “make disciples of all nations.” (Matt. 28:18-20)

Though perils of the fallenness of our humanity and the wicked schemes of our adversary may tragically effect some of us, I believe God’s will is to complete that which he began. He watches over all of his word to perform it. (Jer. 1:12)

On this flight I caught a Disney movie called Tomorrowland. George Clooney stars in this interesting film with an apocalyptic vision of the future. I’ll not spoil it for you, but I will give you a central theme. Casey, a teenage girl recalls a story with a question her father, a NASA scientist, told her when she was a small child. It goes like this:

“Two wolves lived in the wilderness. One is despair and hopelessness. The other is hope and possibility. Which one survives?”

ANSWER: “The wolf that survives is the one you feed.”

I offered a suggestion to my new friend that he consider Abraham’s prayer for his neighboring cities. Abraham appealed to God to hold back his judgment if only ten righteous people could be found there. (Gen. 18:32)

 God responded to the prayers of one person who believed he can be appealed to for a different future. Today there are about 2.5 billion Christians living all over this planet. Sadly, not all of those believers are in a conversational relationship with God. Not all are “feeding” hope and possibility. Not all are dreaming God’s big dreams for all humanity and all of his creation. 

We don’t know better than God, but he will respond when we talk to him and listen. He has dreams for tomorrow for every tribe, and tongue, and nation. 

What are your dreams for tomorrow?

For information about how you may host interns to serve your church, mission organization or business, go to http://ywamconverge.org

A.D. The Bible Continues – The Gospel according to Matthew

Did anyone else notice the abrupt ending to the Finale of NBC’s A.D. The Bible Continues? Of course, the story continues. It was decades after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, after several of the letters Paul wrote, and many of the eye witnesses had been martyred, that the gospels were written.

Reading the Gospel of Matthew (not the first gospel) is a journey into creative tension experienced by the author who understood the heart of a predominantly Jewish exiled community of the early church. In fact Matthew held out this tension, between the pastoral and the prophetic, “in the way in which he portrays the call to a mission to both Jews and Gentiles.” (see Transforming Mission, by David J. Bosch, p. 82)

The embattled and refugee community of Jewish followers of Jesus Christ mid-80 AD, probably living in Syria, were faced with internal and external pressures, a struggle for their identity and purpose. Pressure from Jews who did not believe the message that changed everything and that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah culminated in the extremely conservative Jewish 12th Benediction read aloud in synagogues (Temple worship had ended with its complete destruction) at the end of the first century: “Let the Nazarenes (Christians) and the heretics be destroyed in a moment…Let their names be expurgated from the Book of Life and not be entered with those of the just.” Pressures from within the Jewish Christian community involved questions of adherence to the Law and table fellowship with the growing numbers of Gentiles that had come to faith in Christ.

Matthew wades into this arena of controversy to communicate with pastoral encouragement to a community facing a serious identity crisis. Central to his message, however, is an over-arching missionary identity. Matthew encourages his fellow believers to see the opportunities for missionary witness and service in their context.

This first Gospel is written to a primarily Jewish audience. But Matthew instructs his community to no longer think of themselves as an isolated separate group of Jews; he tells them in no uncertain terms that they are the Church of Christ. (This is the only gospel in which we find the word ecclesia, “church.”) To communicate this identity however, Matthew again holds together a dynamic tension, presenting both a pastoral concern and a missionary outreach. Matthew employs Old Testament scriptures to redefine their community as the “true Israel” and to prove that Jesus is the Messiah, the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel.

Matthew combats the rabbinical teachings of the day with Jesus’ parables, such as the “Tenants”, declaring: “Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it.” It appears, according to Bosch, that it is Matthew who first took up the “theme of the substitution of Israel by a new covenant people.” (Bosch:62)

Though this approach may contribute to anti-Semite views, it’s clear Matthew is no anti-Semite. Instead, he is navigating tragic circumstances of his community, including Israel’s failure to be a light to the Gentiles, with his belief that God has and will continue to act in history.

Readers will notice the tension, especially how Matthew portrays Jesus’ repeated words of commitment to go only “to the lost children of Israel” and his repeated actions reaching out to the Gentiles, such as the Centurian, the Syrophenecian, and the Samaritan. Matthew is a master at showing how to live amid the tension of historic change taking place in Christian community.

Matthew does not direct his people to cease their identity, either inwardly or outwardly, as children of Israel. However, Matthew’s gospel is infused with the missionary call of his community, and every believer, to make disciples of all nations.

Matthew indeed takes the notion of discipleship beyond the traditional preparation to become a “Rabbi”. To be a disciple of Jesus means to become a life-long follower of Jesus Christ, identifying with the “Twelve” in all our weaknesses and lack of faith. This “teaching” for followers is not merely a modern intellectual enterprise either; it’s an appeal to the will of the follower and a call to submit to God’s will. This teaching does not take place in a classroom, bowing down to a human teacher, and certainly not in a church pew a few hours a week. This teaching takes place as we “worship” (fall prostrate) before Jesus as followers and obey the mission to take this message and life-transforming love of neighbors to all the world. In other words, orthopraxis, what we do, becomes the critical yardstick for orthodoxy, what we believe. This “theme of discipleship is central to Matthew’s gospel and to Matthew’s understanding of church and mission.” (Bosch:73)

Again, Matthew is presenting a message that is both pastoral and missionary. Pastorally, he holds up the first disciples, with all their blunders (“little faith”, “afraid”) as models for us to follow. His missionary message is urging us to “make disciples” that will follow their example.

Matthew writes this first gospel story a generation after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ in order to clarify his community’s identity as a community on mission to both the Jews and the Gentiles. Christians find their true identity in the creative tension between Law and Spirit, Church and Mission, pastoral and missionary; the place and posture in which we may truly follow Christ in mission, in communicating to others a new way of life, including a way of following Jesus in a full surrender individually and witness corporately.

There will be no abrupt ending to the story of Jesus and his Church, however there will be an end to his Mission. He will again say, “It is finished.”

Committed to finish His Mission,

John Henry

Video

What is Youth With A Mission?

Pretty cool.

#ywam

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Samuel Zwemer quote

“The history of missions is the history of answered prayer.” – Samuel Zwemer

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Keith Green quote

“All roads lead to the judgment seat of Christ.” – Keith Green

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Henry Martyn quote

“The spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become.” – Henry Martyn, missionary to India and Persia

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Hudson Taylor quote

“The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed” – Hudson Taylor

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Leonard Ravenhill quote

“Today Christians spend more money on dog food then missions” – Leonard Ravenhill

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Ralph Winter quote

“The Bible is not the basis of missions; missions is the basis of the Bible” – Ralph Winter, U.S. Center for World Mission

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Oswald J. Smith quote

“We talk of the Second Coming; half the world has never heard of the first.” – Oswald J. Smith

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C.T. Studd quote

“If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.” – C.T. Studd

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John Piper on Missions

“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t.” – John Piper

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John Piper on God’s delight

“Missions is the overflow of our delight in God because missions is the overflow of God’s delight in being God.” – John Piper

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John Piper on theology

“A God-centered theology has to be a missionary theology” –– John Piper

Favorite quote of the day

siebrings:

” You know you are a servant when, people treat you like a servant and it doesn’t bother you.” – Unknown

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Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf

“I have but one passion: It is He, it is He alone. The world is the field and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can be most used in winning souls for Christ.” – Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf

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Roderick Davis quote

“Love is the root of missions; sacrifice is the fruit of missions” – Roderick Davis

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“It is possible for the most obscure person in a church, with a heart right toward God, to exercise as much power for the evangelization of the world, as it is for those who stand in the most prominent positions.” – John R. Mott

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The mark of a great church is not its seating capacity, but its sending capacity

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“If missions languish, it is because the whole life of godliness is feeble. The command to go everywhere and preach to everybody is not obeyed until the will is lost by self–surrender in the will of God. Living, praying, giving and going will always be found together.” – Arthur T. Pierson

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“If the Great Commission is true, our plans are not too big; they are too small.” – Pat Morley

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“If there is no passionate love for Christ at the center of everything, we will only jingle and jangle our way across the world, merely making a noise as we go” – William Wilberforce speaking of the Moravians missionaries

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“The great Pioneer Missionaries all had ‘inverted homesickness’ this passion to call that country their home which was most in need of the Gospel. In this passion all other passions died; before this vision all other visions faded; this call drowned all other voices. They were the pioneers of the Kingdom, the forelopers of God, eager to cross the border-marches and discover new lands or win new-empires” – Samuel Zwemer

(via ywamconverge)

“Forelopers of God”

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“The great Pioneer Missionaries all had ‘inverted homesickness’ this passion to call that country their home which was most in need of the Gospel. In this passion all other passions died; before this vision all other visions faded; this call drowned all other voices. They were the pioneers of the Kingdom, the forelopers of God, eager to cross the border-marches and discover new lands or win new-empires” – Samuel Zwemer

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“The Lord did not tell us to build beautiful churches, but to evangelize the world” -– Oswald J. Smith

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‘Somewhere along the way we have subtly and tragically taken the costly command of Christ to go, baptize, and teach all nations and mutated it into a comfortable call for Christians to come, be baptized, and listen in one location.’ –– David Platt

Favorite quote of the day

siebrings:

Count your blessings instead of your crosses; 
Count your gains instead of your losses. 
Count your joys instead of your woes; 
Count your friends instead of your foes. 
Count your smiles instead of your tears; 
Count your courage instead of your fears. 
Count your full years instead of your lean; 
Count your kind deeds instead of your mean. 
Count your health instead of your wealth; 
Count on God instead of yourself. – Unknown

Amen!

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Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.
– Robert Louis Stevenson

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Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic self-hood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks–we will also find our path of authentic service in the world.

Parker Palmer on “Becoming the Person You Called to Become (Not What the World Wants of You)” 

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Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.

Parker Palmer on “Studying your Uniqueness to Discover Your Calling” 

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The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.

Frederick Buechner on “How to Discern Your Calling” 

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If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.

Martin Luther King Jr on “Being Called to Excel in Your Calling”

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“Thus, for followers of Christ, calling neutralizes the fundamental position of choice in modern life. “I have chosen you,” Jesus said, “you have not chosen me.” We are not our own; we have been bought with a price. We have no rights, only responsibilities. Following Christ is not our initiative, merely our response, in obedience. Nothing works better to debunk the pretensions of choice than a conviction of calling. Once we have been called, we literally “have no choice.”

Os Guinness on “The Power and Response of God’s Calling”

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God did not direct His call to Isaiah— Isaiah overheard God saying, “… who will go for Us?” The call of God is not just for a select few but for everyone. Whether I hear God’s call or not depends on the condition of my ears, and exactly what I hear depends upon my spiritual attitude.

Oswald Chambers on “The Spiritual Readiness of the Call”

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Those who have a “why” to live can bear with almost any how.

– Viktor Frankl

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Beware of anything that competes with loyalty to Jesus Christ. The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service for Him… . The one aim of the call of God is the satisfaction of God, not a call to do something for Him. … The men and women our Lord sends out on His enterprises are the ordinary human stuff, plus dominating devotion to Himself wrought by the Holy Spirit. Be absolutely His.

Oswald Chambers on “Being Too Busy for God”

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If all that a believer does grows out of faith and is done for the glory of God, then all dualistic distinctions are demolished. There is no higher/lower, sacred/secular, perfect/permitted, contemplative/active or first class/second class. Calling is the premise of Christian existence itself Calling means that everyone, everywhere, and in everything fulfills his or her (secondary) callings in response to God’s (primary) calling. For Luther, the peasant and the merchant— for us, the business person, the teacher, the factory worker, and the television anchor—can do God’s work (or fail to do it) just as much as the minister or missionary.

Os Guinness on “The Distortion of Spiritual/Secular Dualism of Calling”

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Do we enjoy our work, love our work, virtually worship our work so that our devotion to Jesus is off-center? Do we put our emphasis on service, usefulness, or being productive in working for God—at his expense? Do we strive to prove our own significance? To make a difference in the world? To carve our names in marble on the monuments of time? The call of God blocks the path of all such deeply human tendencies. We are not primarily called to do something or go somewhere; we are called to Someone. We are not called to special work but to God. The key to answering the call is to be devoted to no one and to nothing above God himself.

Os Guinness on “Making an Idol of Work”

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Be a Luminary

This guy is amazing. You gotta watch this video.

Be a Luminary

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Everyone will be forgotten, nothing we do will make any difference, and all good endeavours, even the best, will come to naught. Unless there is God. If the God of the Bible exists, and there is a True Reality beneath and behind this one, and this life is not the only life, then every good endeavour, even the simplest ones, pursued in response to God’s calling, can matter forever.

Tim Keller on “Why Calling Matters”

What is YWAM?

Getting ready to start our first Discipleshipt Training School in South Jersey. The DTS is the foundational training experience that will ruin you for the ordinary.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uz0EesM-G04&sns=tw #ywam #ywamconverge

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The maid who sweeps here kitchen is doing the will of God just as much as the monk who prays – not because she may sing a Christian hymn as she sweeps but because God loves clean floors. The Christian shoemaker does his Christian duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship.

Martin Luther

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God doesn’t need our good works, but our neighbor does.

– Gustaf Wingren

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When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.

Henry J. Kaiser

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I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But it’s true – hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don’t love something, then don’t do it.

Ray Bradbury

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All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

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The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.

Arnold J. Toynbee

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Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work.

Booker T. Washington

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The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.

Vince Lombardi

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Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

Thomas A. Edison

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What is there more kindly than the feeling between host and guest?

 Aeschylus

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Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.

― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

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Celebrate what you want to see more of.

 Tom Peters

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Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.

 Victor Hugo

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Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.

 – Victor Hugo

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So I say to you, Ask and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.

 – Jesus

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Join me for an informal meet up to learn about Converge and how this missions platform can serve your ministries and missional projects. We meet every Wednesday at 12 noon eastern on Google hangouts. Reach out for an invite at ywamconverge.org.

Converge is for…

1. Projects that need student volunteers, ——
2. Churches sending out small teams of students, and ——
3. Students seeking to intern or volunteer with a project, business, church, or NGO.

During our beta year of our launch, we are accepting a small number of project submissions. If you need interns or volunteers and you are willing to host them, be among the first to register at ywamconverge.org.  

We are also seeking a few fun, faithful, pioneer YWAMers to join our team. If you have IT skills, bookkeeping, graphic design or writing skills, pray about joining us. 

John Henry

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A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

Jesus

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To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.

― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Converge Projects

Converge Field Project Assignment are a way to document a problem and a possible solution. After serving, listening, and observing for several days, Converge interns propose a project assignment that can be completed before they return home. The proposed solution could be a unique way to present the Gospel of the kingdom to that community. 

The Field Project may be a photo-journal, a video, a podcast, a web site, or the more typical written research report.

More than a typical internship

In addition to your regular weekly schedule, Converge interns will build new relationships, listening and observing the way people live in the community they serve.  

You will be equipped with a mapping assessment tool to help you research and pray about your Field Project assignment. Before you begin your Field Project, you will interview the project leader to discuss what you propose to do.

Your Mentor may help also you regarding the process and timing of your project. When considering your Field Project, ask yourself:  “If I were to move to this community, what would I do to make a difference for the glory of God.”

The Converge Course

The Converge Course takes generous volunteer work and turns it into an immersive discipleship experience. We’ve traveled the world gathering some of the most relevant and insightful interviews of our time and made them available to you for your pre-departure training. It’s 50 videos, 2-5 min each, arranged in 9 lessons. The Converge Course begins 60 days before you travel to the field project. Before you begin, you are required to choose your own Mentor from your own community. Your Mentor can offer help with travel preparations, encouragement, support, and thinking through challenging questions about your unique contribution. That is why you choose someone from your own community, someone who knows you and has personal experience in cross-cultural service.

Unlike any other international missions trip site, Converge is:

  • A comprehensive list of high-impact service projects hosted by YWAM endorsed organizations. (Free to host organizations.)
  • An online curriculum that provides a solid theological foundation for cross cultural ministry and community service broken into easily consumable 2 to 6 minute video segments. (Accepted students pay only $25USD to enroll in course.)
  • A public facing campaign page for students to recruit ministry partners, communicate their project needs and ultimately meet their fundraising goals through a free social donor management system. (Host organizations also receive public page and dashboard to manage interns.)
  • A mentorship toolkit that helps students find a caring project coach that can guide the student through the preparation stage, raise needed funds, develop a vision for serving, and celebrate project milestones together. 

Converge supports a student, the mentor, and the host throughout the entire experience. 

Converge. Made with world-changers in mind.

Converge is for Christian students and emerging leaders actively searching for an internship or volunteer service assignment. It enables them to explore opportunities from a host of projects with partner organizations that match their faith, interests, and skills. Converge is an online platform where students can apply for international and community service projects, and receive theological training, fundraising support, and mentorship to prepare them to make the most of their experience.

Converge Connects Communities

You want to leverage your time, talent, and resources to serve a project in a community that relates to your passion. With Converge, you can connect to make a real difference.

A Global Partnership Network

Converge is a global partnership network available to connect church communities to on-going projects and equip emerging leaders for transformation in their life and work as participants in Christ’s mission to the world.

An online Discipleship Training experience

Converge is a discipleship training and volunteer placement platform. Converge helps project leaders by offering to help meet their organization’s need for pre-qualified short-term volunteers and interns. Converge creates partnerships with churches and organizations. 

Strong Team to Support an Amazing Platform

Soon students from anywhere will quickly find global projects that matter to them. They will connect with project hosts, and prepare for their trip using Converge’s online course. This platform is open now to project hosts seeking interns and volunteers. We are running Converge in beta for the first year with only a few project opportunities. Our first priority is to build a strong team and organization to support this amazing platform. 

Sign up at the site to get announcements about opportunities as they come available in the near future.

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just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Matthew 20:28 (NIV)

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Change is the end result of all true learning.

Leo Buscaglia

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Men have a respect for scholarship and learning greatly out of proportion to the use they commonly serve.

Henry David Thoreau

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No man ever prayed heartily without learning something.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.

Henry Ford

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Learning to trust is one of life’s most difficult tasks.

Isaac Watts

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We learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. One becomes in some area an athlete of God.

Martha Graham

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I never learn anything talking. I only learn things when I ask questions.

Lou Holtz

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The mind ought sometimes to be diverted that it may return to better thinking.

Phaedrus

A Question

I love learning. But like most men I don’t like asking for directions. I have wasted countless hours trying to do it myself. Finally, I read the instructions.

The answers to your most important questions are not found on a Google search; they’re hidden inside people, especially the faithful ones in your community. 

This may be the most important conversation you will have in 2015. Ask:

 “What is the toughest decision you ever had to make?”

Sure, you can choose your major, buy that car, or take that job based on your own analysis or reasoning. But a decision based on personal research and on the counsel of a faithful and wise  person in your community is more valuable than gold. Every meaningful decision, no matter how smart it may appear, eventually has an effect on people. You are not alone. You are made for relationship. You are part of a community.

Ask people.

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A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years mere study of books.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

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It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.

John Wooden

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I have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

Henry David Thoreau

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I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.

Pablo Picasso

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He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

How being Visionary relates to being “Salt” and “Light”

How being Visionary relates to being “Salt” and “Light”

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matthew 5:13-14)

Glasses on Open BibleWhen Jesus said, “You are the salt” and “the light”he was describing the inherent calling of every human being; we are…

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Without pain, there would be no suffering, without suffering we would never learn from our mistakes. To make it right, pain and suffering is the key to all windows, without it, there is no way of life.

Angelina Jolie

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Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed.

Cavett Robert

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The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.

Gilbert K. Chesterton

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To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person.

Bruce Lee

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Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.

Ben Franklin

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Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.

 Jonathan Edwards

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The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.

 Melody Beattie

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Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.

Benjamin Franklin

Seth Godin’s post on why we sacrifice. Good.

I am attaching Seth Godin’s blog below in its entirety. This one is timely and important. Have you thought much about why you sacrifice for others?

Cutting through Singer’s Paradox

Teacher and ethicist Peter Singer shares a puzzle with his students:

I ask them to imagine that their route to the university takes them past a shallow pond. One morning, I say to them, you notice a child has fallen in and appears to be drowning. To wade in and pull the child out would be easy but it will mean that you get your clothes wet and muddy, and by the time you go home and change you will have missed your first class.

I then ask the students: do you have any obligation to rescue the child? Unanimously, the students say they do. The importance of saving a child so far outweighs the cost of getting one’s clothes muddy and missing a class, that they refuse to consider it any kind of excuse for not saving the child. Does it make a difference, I ask, that there are other people walking past the pond who would equally be able to rescue the child but are not doing so? No, the students reply, the fact that others are not doing what they ought to do is no reason why I should not do what I ought to do.

The paradox comes in when Singer points out that if it’s a moral imperative to save this child at the cost of ruining a pair of shoes, we certainly face that same imperative every day. Using Paypal, we can send $20 somewhere in the world and with certainty, save the life of a child.

What’s the difference? The child is far away, certainly, but she’s still a child and she’s still dying.

Marketing helps us understand the two key differences:

1. CLOSE & NOW: The first child is dying right in front of me. Right now. The shame I feel in walking way is palpable. Many times, we act generously or heroically because to avoid doing so is to risk being shamed. The ALS challenge got many things right, and this is one of them. When someone calls you out in public, it is close and it is now.

2. GRATITUDE: Even though it might not be at the top of mind, the fact is that once we pull someone out of the pond, we anticipate that they will thank us, and so will the community. In fact, if that didn’t happen, if the kid just walked away and no one noticed, I think we’d be perplexed or even angry.

And this is the problem every good cause outside of your current walk to work faces. They are trying to solve a difficult problem far away. They’re working to do something that is neither close nor now. And often, because the work is so hard, there’s no satisfactory thank you, certainly not the thank you of, we’re done, you’re a hero.

The challenge for real philanthropic growth, then, is to either change the culture so our marketing psychology is to donate to things that are neither close nor now, and that offer little in the way of thanks, or to create change that hacks our current perceptions of what’s important.

We’re learning that the most important problems to solve might be the long-term ones, the ones where our cultural instincts don’t lead to emergency donations.

Check this deck

Check out my newly uploaded presentation on SlideShare: ‘Converge – The Missions Platform’.

http://www.slideshare.net/JohnTHenry/converge-launchslideshare

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I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.

Ernest Hemingway

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Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.

John F. Kennedy

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There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.

Jiddu Krishnamurti

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He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.

Friedrich Nietzsche

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I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.

Maya Angelou

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If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?

Albert Einstein

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Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.

Albert Einstein

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Cultures, along with the religions that shape and nurture them, are value systems, sets of traditions and habits clustered around one or several languages, producing meaning: for the self, for the here and now, for the community, for life.

Tariq Ramadan

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My feeling about seeing the world is that it’s going to change you necessarily, just the very fact of being out there and meeting people from different cultures and different ways of life.

Ewan McGregor

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We need to put into practice the idea of embracing other cultures. We need to be shaping the kind of world we want to live in instead of waiting for someone else or some other entities to do it for us.

Herbie Hancock

Giving to help others Go

Your donations can sponsor the student serving the project you care about. Or you can sponsor Converge to help us find the best partners and projects around the world. All donations are tax-deductible in the USA.

https://ywamconverge.org/donations/new

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I’ve been traveling all over the world for 25 years, performing, talking to people, studying their cultures and musical instruments, and I always come away with more questions in my head than can be answered.

Yo-Yo Ma

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I think the most interesting parts of human experience might be the sparks that come from that sort of chipping flint of cultures rubbing against each other.

Barbara Kingsolver

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I like to see myself as a bridge builder, that is me building bridges between people, between races, between cultures, between politics, trying to find common ground.

T. D. Jakes

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I’ve always enjoyed traveling and having experience with different cultures and different people. But it’s also a wonderful thing to be able to benefit and enable research, not only in our country but around the world.

Laurel Clark

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All places where women are excluded tend downward to barbarism; but the moment she is introduced, there come in with her courtesy, cleanliness, sobriety, and order.

Harriet Beecher Stowe

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I have a multicultural background, so I tend to have an open mind about things, and I find other cultures interesting.

Viggo Mortensen

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I tend to see the similarities in people and not the differences.

Isabel Allende

Converge Team Openings

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Too many of us now tend to worship self indulgence and consumption.

Jimmy Carter

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I tend to think you’re fearless when you recognize why you should be scared of things, but do them anyway.

Christian Bale

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We will always tend to fulfill our own expectation of ourselves.

Brian Tracy

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People tend to forget their duties but remember their rights.

Indira Gandhi

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Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.

Victor Hugo

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I do not think it is wise to take on more than a very narrow aspect of collaborating with God in the mission of bringing all things under Christ. But our understanding of our piece in the larger picture is critical. If our piece is church planting or evangelism, then do so intelligently, with an admission of the limited part this occupies in the cosmic scheme of things. If it is restoring the environment, ending child labor or creating wealth in a poor community, then recognize the infinitesimal sliver this represents in the grand mission of God. We need to be for one another and to celebrate the importance of each of our parts. Each person should be on a mission to eliminate the mastery of sin in their lives, bringing Gods flourishing into their families and communities, and participating in some small way to the replenishing, subduing and governing of the world.

Scott Bessenecker, Overturning Tables: Freeing Missions from the Christian Industrial Complex. IVP Books 2014

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If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.

Abraham Maslow

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To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.

Winston Churchill

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Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.

Leo Tolstoy

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Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

A Simple Practice to Change the World

What one simple practice you can do everyday has the power to change the world? 

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Hospitality. The Biblical meaning of hospitality is ‘friend of the foreigner’. God has always instructed His people to love and care for strangers. The world has never been so pluralistic as it is today since the days of the early church. Converge is built on the principle of hospitality, where Hosts in communities welcome student volunteers.

http://www.ywamconverge.org

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Learning to trust is one of life’s most difficult tasks.

Isaac Watts

Five Trends Shaping the Future

All around us are examples of pioneers, innovators, and early adopters who have discovered new principles that are shaping the future. Some are new and more effective ways of thinking. The convergence of all of these together have yet to become the dominant or prevailing way of living. 

We see the following five trends shaping the future of world missions:

  • Movement. Young people respond to an invitation to a movement, not just a program or organization to join.
  • Emergence. Emerging leaders willing to serve also desire to learn from established leaders in communities. This is the most effective path to leadership development.
  • Integration. Effective organizations are focused on community development, micro banking, job creation, strength based assessments and sustainable project creation.
  • Accountability. Churches, foundations, and individuals are thinking more deeply about how their investment of financial contributions are used. They are more personally engaged in well defined projects, trying to maximize every dollar invested.
  • Inclusion. Missionaries are known by too few in the churches that support them. Inclusive leaders are seeking to involve more of their congregation in relationships that benefit both the community they seek to serve and the discipleship of participants.
  • Mutuality. Instead of dependence on western funding and expertise, missional partners share resources and time with shared biblical values. 

http://www.ywamconverge.org

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Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

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I never learn anything talking. I only learn things when I ask questions.

Lou Holtz

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We learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. One becomes in some area an athlete of God.

Martha Graham

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Learning never exhausts the mind.

Leonardo da Vinci

Nominate a YWAM endorsed missions project on this 5 minute survey

Converge will enable Christian students to explore opportunities from a host of projects with partner organizations that match their faith, interests, and skills. This online platform will serve missions projects by simplifying coordination of recruiting, training, fundraising, and mentoring to help students make the most of their experience.
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Before we introduce Converge to students around the world, we invite you to nominate the best projects and hosts for interns. Thank you for taking 5-10 minutes to complete this simple survey.

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Nominate a Missions Project

Name someone working with a missions project you want to champion. Help us create a comprehensive list of high-impact service projects from a variety of organizations.

Nominate a Missions Project

What is Converge?

Converge is an online platform where students can apply for international and community service projects, and receive theological training, fundraising support, and mentorship to prepare them to make the most of their experience.

Converge: The Missions Platform

Seeking help for a project in your community? Need short term volunteers with passion?  Finding people with specific skills a big challenge? Watch this 2 min video to learn how you can easily set up an internship program. Reach out now to begin the process at ywamconverge.org

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.
Benjamin Franklin

Converge is an initiative of Youth With A Mission, developed by the UofN Student Mobilization Centre.

Introducing Converge

Converge. Made with world-changers in mind.

Converge is for Christian students and emerging leaders actively searching for an internship or volunteer service assignment. It enables them to explore opportunities from a host of projects with partner organizations that match their faith, interests, and skills. Converge is an online platform where students can apply for international and community service projects, and receive theological training, fundraising support, and mentorship to prepare them to make the most of their experience.

Converge students will gain experience, connections, and perspective to help shape their life-long contribution as witnesses for Christ in their sphere of influence.

During this first phase of our launch, we are welcoming those seeking interns and volunteers to use the Submit a Project form on the site. Once we reach a critical mass of projects, we will open up converge to student applicants. 

Learn more at ywamconverge.org

New, Old Meaning for Hospitality

a strange® way to engage Christ’s mission. Are you “apt” for it?

Kingdom – Another Parable

Read this parable, the one Jesus told his disciples was the most important parable: Luke 13:1

That day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea. And large crowds gathered to Him, so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach. And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. “Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had nodepth of soil. “But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had noroot, they withered away. “Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. “And others fell on the goodsoil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. “He who has ears, let him hear.”

Doesn’t sound too exciting, does it? It sound boring. Like farming? What?

WHEN YOU HEAR THE WORD “SEED”, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF?

Tractors, Fields, Soil, Plants, Crops, Workers…Work! Eventually, we think of work to be done in a garden or a field.

Jesus goes on to teach another parable of the kingdom and it’s about the workers. See Matt. 20:

For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner (FARMER) who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard (FARM). After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first. When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

This parable seems to point at two different responses related to WORK and PAY. One response is jealousy, envy, and inequality (the First Workers), and the Second response is grace and gratitude for generosity. Both responses have work and workers, but they are very different.

My story? I have learned a few things about work. lived in Wisconsin where there is a lot of snow, so in 5th grade I began knocking on neighbor’s doors to ask if I can shovel their walks and driveways so I could make some money. I also raked leaves and then in 7th grade, I bought a lawnmower to cut neighbor lawns. I had a morning paper delivery route in 6th grade through 8th grade. I delivered papers during the cold winters in Wisconsin and one hot summer in Hollywood, CA.

In 7th and 8th grades I sold cokes at football and basketball games at the University of Wisconsin. The summer after 7th and 8th grades, I worked as a caddy at a golf course. I had to wake up at four in the morning to go wait on the caddy’s bench to get hired each morning.

As a young adult, I had a bunch of jobs too. As I worked my way through college, I worked as a dishwasher, a cook, an electrician’s laborer, a landscaper, a sewer pipe layer, a waiter, a clerk in a liquor store, a door-to-door salesman, car salesman, and a security guard. I even worked as a sub-contractor in a steel mill cleaning soot off the beams six stories over the Old Hearth Furnace. After I graduated college, I took a job as an accountant with a major accounting firm and I hated it. Then I took a job as an executive with the Boy Scouts of America, where I worked for three years.

When I was 27 years old, I resigned from the Scouts. My home church prayed over me and sent me out to preach the kingdom of God. For the past 25 years, I’ve not worked for money. I’ve worked as a faith missionary and God is the one who supplies my family’s needs. This kind of lifestyle does not happen without at least some understanding of the kingdom of God.

So what IS the kingdom of God like? It is like working in a field, sowing seeds…

Jesus sums up his kingdom parables saying…

Mt 13:31“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed.”

Like a seed, the kingdom starts small, gets buried in a field, in the dark earth, it dies, quietly without excitement, with nothing visible. Only faith and hope remain. And then, without any control by the worker who sows the seed, it grows like a plant really big…

Jesus again sums up the kingdom with this parable…

Mt 13:44The kingdom of heaven is liketreasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

This parable highlights the value, and the joy of the kingdom. It’s like a treasure, hidden in an open field, not a forest, not a jungle. It’s hidden in plain sight, in a field. And to get the treasure, you gotta buy the whole field? Why?

Why do you have to buy the whole field before you get the treasure of the kingdom of God? Perhaps it is because the field and the treasure are connected? Could it be compared to water buried deep below desert land? If you want the water, you have to buy the land. You can’t have the water without buying the land.

Let’s recap what Jesus is teaching us so far:

• We must remember. The kingdom of God is not a human kingdom. It’s not better when human beings try to control everything. The kingdom of God is the place where God rules!

• We must remember that the kingdom of God is not a kingdom that will only arrive when Jesus returns. It’s near, now.

• Jesus will return and he is the king, but he has taught us that his kingdom is like a seed sown into a field.

It’s a treasure in a field, waiting for you to buy it right now. But where is this field?

Many very intelligent people have searched the scriptures and researched the holy land and thought about this question for 2000 years. Where is the field?

Jesus already answered this question:

LUKE 17:20-21 Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”

Your heart is the field and the seed is the word of God. The kingdom of God is near you when God rules your heart.

But not everyone allows God to rule their hearts. Jesus taught about that too. He said:

Mt 6:23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

Lu 11:35 See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.

It’s your choice. You can live in the kingdom of darkness, where there is jealousy and envy, or with hunger and humility, you can enter the kingdom of God, where there is grace and gratitude for God’s generosity.

Jesus’ brother James writes:

James 4:1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?

The message of the kingdom is not a one-time confession of faith, like a contract that God must fulfill to save your soul. Instead, the kingdom of God is near you, in your mouth and in your heart. Your heart has two spaces in it: one space for a cross and one space for a throne. You and Jesus take up those two spaces. Which space should you take and which space will you allow Jesus, the king of the universe to fill. If you remain on the throne, he must remain on the cross. If you come down from the throne, and surrender your life to him, then Jesus can take his rightful place as the king of your heart. That leaves only one place for you, the cross. In order for Jesus to reign in our hearts, his kingdom, we must live a life of full surrender.

When you do, you will find yourself like Paul, willing to go to the ends of the earth to proclaim the kingdom of God. You will be willing to “be constantly on the move, be in danger from rivers, from bandits, from my own countrymen, from Gentiles; in the city, in the country, at sea; and from false brothers. You will be willing to labor and toil and go without sleep. You may know hunger and thirst and go without food, but you will know the love and generosity of king Jesus.”

When you hear the word “kingdom”, what do you think of?

Does the word “kingdom” make you think of Kings, Princes, Princesses, Armies, Power, Thrones, Palaces?

Jesus taught parables about the kingdom of God because people had the wrong idea about what happens when God rules! He was trying to change the expectations of the people. What was their expectation?

While the people listened to Jesus, they “thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.” (Luke 19:11) The people had an expectation that Jesus was going to overthrow the Roman Empire. SOON! or Sooner!

The Jewish people thought the kingdom of God was all about a revolution. Kicking Roman butt! A great deliverance! A King that would deliver the Israelites from their Roman oppressors!

Many of us think this way when it’s time to elect a President of the United States. We put our hope in a person. People naturally look to a leader to make their world a better place, but that was NOT what Jesus was talking about when he preached the Kingdom of God.

When he taught the kingdom, he knew the people had the wrong idea. His parables were simple stories that could only be understood by those who were humble and hungry.

A parable does not fully explain what something is like. Like trying to describe a song or a painting, a parable is a story with words that are laid alongside the thing you want to describe. The parable can’t fully explain, but it can give a hint. Or it can be a story that describes exactly what the kingdom of God is NOT.

Look at this parable from Matthew 22:

“Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’ But they made light of it and went away, one to his field, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”

So, are you excited about THIS kingdom?

I think this parable is very misunderstood. What kind of king is Jesus describing? It should be obvious that the king in this parable is NOT “like” God.

In this parable, Jesus did not say, “The kingdom of God is LIKE”, but rather “the kingdom of God is compared to” or more literally, “is made to look like”.

God is not a tyrant, or a narcissistic sociopath, who kills people that do not come to his party. In this parable, the king calls everyone and anyone to come to his party at the last minute. That sounds fine, but then this king binds and drags one person to outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, just because he doesn’t look right to him. It’s no wonder the man without a wedding robe was speechless.

Some people read, “many are called, few are chosen” and think God probably doesn’t love them. In fact, I know someone who believes they are NOT chosen. Because of this parable, people wrongly think God is an angry unjust judge. But that is not what Jesus was saying!

And most of us know that where God is king, it’s NOTHING like the kingdom in that parable. Instead this parable describes what happens when the people demand a king, when they turn to a human leader. In fact, the original Greek in verse 2 literally translated reads like this: “The kingdom of heaven has been made into one in which a human king gave a wedding banquet for his son.”

The people wanted Jesus to be the king of Israel, a king who would deliver them from all their enemies and make the world a better place. They wanted to take him by force to make him their king. But Jesus was teaching what the kingdom of God is NOT like. It’s NOT a human kingdom… okay?

I think we can all agree that the Israelites had the wrong idea about the kingdom of God, but many Christians today still think the wrong thing about the kingdom of God. Too many Christians think we will only experience the kingdom of God when the end comes, after Jesus returns to earth to establish his kingdom reign.

But Jesus says, “No.” It’s not an overthrow of the Roman Empire or any country’s government. It’s not the setting up of a human king, or prime minister, or president. AND it’s NOT a heavenly kingdom that we need to wait for until he returns.

So then, what was Jesus talking about?

See the next post about the next parable Jesus told his disciples from Luke 13:1

 

Creation vs. Evolution – Part 3

WowThis discussion of Creation vs. Evolution, as I have noted in my previous posts, is not in conflict with science. The problem is not science. The problem is the scientist who fails to observe and take account of all the data. Scientists on both sides of this false divide between faith and reason are partly at fault for the conflict. Underneath the surface, beyond the reach of natural observations,  is a much greater conflict.
Sadly, too many Evangelicals consign the realm of the sciences to those who are “unbelieving.”  The result of this anti-intellectual approach to faith is an increasingly marginalized witness in the world. How did this happen? It began over a century ago, when many of the old denominational colleges became increasingly secularized. That is, the leaders of those old institutions, like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, stepped away from the core curriculum of theology and replaced it with electives and the opportunity for greater specialization. These colleges became universities, but only after separating out the heart of learning.
To me there has never been a higher source of earthly honor or distinction than that connected with advances in science…No sciences are better attested than the religion of the Bible. – Sir Isaac Newton
The “queen of the sciences,” theology, was fenced in and removed from the new universities. Princeton Seminary is a leading example of an institution that separated theology from the core of the university. Bible colleges emerged in reaction to the increasingly secularized academy. In other words, those who would be faithful to study the Bible decided to remove themselves from the arena, the universities, where their witness could do the most good.
What does this have to do with the Creation vs. Evolution debate? An increasing number of scientists today are  adopting the theory of Intelligent Design, a form of creationism. Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, a 1996 book by Michael J. Behe , presents his “evidence-based scientific theory about life’s origins.” Behe coined the term irreducible complexity , which is evident in many biochemical systems and which indicates that they must be the result of intelligent design rather than evolutionary processes. That is to say that the intelligence behind the design of our universe implies that their must also be an Intelligent Designer/Creator.
Though I am not a scientist, I pay attention to scientists with a biblical Christian worldview, like Francis Collins, who served as Director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Human Genome Research Institute. You do not need to be a scientist to consider the statistical possibility that life evolved and transmutated across species and into the sophistication of eyes, rational thinking, and unselfish concern for the weak.
What science is finding is the incredible sophistication, intelligent design, in all of life. Behind creation there appears to be some actual engagement, purposeful design, at the genetic level over the course of multiple millennia. In other words, someone has been tinkering with the DNA on planet earth. This is where we must again understand that we are in the midst of spiritual conflict.
The problem of evil is not quickly resolved. What is the full extent of the works of Satan that Jesus came to destroy, and gives us the charge to complete?
I believe that the works of Satan are destructive both in thought life and in genetic life. Could it be that there are and have been angelic beings, which have been involved in the work of intelligent design through genetic engineering? Could it be that the fossil record of the Cambrian Explosion (500 million years ago), which shows an explosion of destructive life, might arguably be the time when, as the Scriptures say, Satan fell like lightning out of heaven along with 1/3rd of the angels?
I believe fallen angels are very real. Jesus took authority over them, especially as he healed the sick. Jesus taught us that there is a very real problem of evil.
How does this relate to the question of Creation and Evolution? Stay with me just a bit longer. Could it be that dinosaurs, the carnivorous ones, might have been genetically engineered by fallen angels? Could it be that disease was genetically engineered by fallen angels? Antibodies, therefore, may have been genetically engineered by God’s angels, those who continue to battle evil without violating God’s love and his humility.
If we are residing on a very old planet, all the dinosaurs may therefore have been destroyed by an asteroid or something catastrophic about 65 million years ago.
When, therefore, did the Edenic Plan occur? When did God put humanity on the planet? Probably the same time the Young Earth Theorists suggest, about 10,000 years ago. Do you see how this view brings together all the evidence and reconciles the scientific record of the old earth with the biblical testimony? But that’s not all this view does. It also brings revelation regarding the problem of evil, including disease. It expands our understanding of God’s mission, the mission we are called to complete in the earth, destroy the works of the devil.
I believe we are to ally ourselves with the good angels in destroying the works of Satan. And we must follow God’s ways, his loving ways and his humility. “Without God we can’t and without us He won’t.” Our mission is clarified as we learn more and more about the DNA-level mechanisms of distortion which account for most of the suffering in this world.
So, that’s a quick summary of where I am at regarding Science and Creation. There’s plenty of fossil record to defend my position. There is no valid fossil record to defend the position that fish crawled up out of the sea and grew legs. This theory has a strong bias in favor of a Creator God who is good, just, kind, gentle, loving, and willing to suffer wrong for the sake of his Name.  He hides himself, but he does not deceive us. He is good to all.

Creation vs. Evolution – Part 2

England CliffsThe “creationist” will presuppose God is Creator. That’s appropriate as a faithful believer. The creationist therefore looks for evidence that upholds the hypothesis, God is the One who created everything.

I believe God is Creator.  I also believe there is no evidence that disproves that hypothesis.
On the other hand, I disapprove of “scientific creationism,” which tends to ignore data and turns to a feet-of-clay-type “faith.”  That is to say, the scientific creationist’s faith leads him to turn to a limited view of what the Bible says and then claims, in the face of scientific evidence to the contrary, that limited understanding as evidence of creation.
To be more specific, many creationists have adopted a Young Earth Theory. Ken Ham is a Young-Earth creationist who advocates a limited and literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis. He recently debated Bill Nye the Science Guy at his Creation Museum. I watched and cringed as he tried to defend a young earth by saying “it’s in the bible.”
The problem with Young Earth Theory is that it makes God out to be a deceiver. If the earth is “young,” then the fossil record of multitudes of extinct life forms and the preponderance of evidence of a very old earth is all a great hoax, a distraction from the truth. It’s as if God was just fooling around with us, placing the bones of dinosaurs all over the planet,  making the earth look old, and making it more difficult to believe the truth. Therefore, to be a faithful believer, one must set aside all evidence to the contrary, evidence put there by a great magician, a great illusionist, and just believe.
Ken Ham believes the data from carbon dating and ancient atmosphere’s trapped in layers of ice at the polar caps of the earth are inaccurate, a mistaken scientific conclusion that the earth is multiple millions of years old. This kind of denial of evidence on the part of scientific creationists is confounding to those who might enter into a biblical faith in Christ.
As I mentioned in Part 1 on this topic, the problem is not the science or the faith; it’s the scientist. Both the atheistic scientist and the creation scientist are ignoring evidence that would lead them to the fact that they must believe the truth. The Bible charges us to believe the evidence made available through natural observation, science:
…since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Rom. 1:19-20)
Now, if you want to reconcile the Bible with Science, that’s fun. There is plenty of evidence of an old, old, old creation. There’s plenty of evidence of a big bang, which may have been the actual creation of the universe through the word of the Lord in Genesis (ch 1, v. 3):
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
There is also evidence in the fossil record of the Cambrian Explosion, a period in which life on this planet evolved rapidly, including destructive life forms.
As a Christian missionary, I believe we have a mission on earth, which begins to appear more clearly as we recognize as best we can the full extent of the “works of Satan” (shifting the blame for destructive life forms to Satan and thus glorifying God).  I believe there are two significant barriers to Christian belief:
  1. the rampant evil in this world, in which too many fail to recognize Satan’s responsibility; and
  2. a Bible with the “feet of clay” beginning with Genesis 1:1. That is, too many read Genesis literally, as if God created the heavens and earth in a literal six days, and that the genealogies show that it must have only been 7 to 10 thousand years ago.
In my next and final post on this topic, I will explore the placement of the Edenic Plan, when God placed Adam & Eve on an old planet. I will also explore the breadth of the spiritual conflict, which is necessary if we are to complete the Great Commission. Until next time…

The Problem with the Creation vs. Evolution Debate – Part 1

Science is science. Follow the evidence. Hypotheses requires some speculation, however, especially regarding where the evidence may lead. We can’t be completely objective. We interject ourselves, our thoughts, our creative ideas, and our wrong ideas into the experiment. Good science will not ignore the evidence no matter where it leads.

The Creation vs. Evolution debate is not a conflict between science and faith; it’s a problem with the scientist. The scientist may be atheistic and she may be a faithful believer. No matter. If the scientist fails to observe, and acknowledge the evidence, you should not rely on their conclusion. Good science requires peer reviews, alternative hypotheses, and observations of patterns that emerge. Bad science is trying to force the evidence to fit your conclusions, while claiming to have the right conclusion.

This is the first in a series I will be posting about this debate. If you follow this blog, watch for the places that faith must be involved in the Creation vs. Evolution debate. Take note that this debate involves a few great barriers to faith in God. Note also that faith, according to biblical instruction, is a shield (Ephesians 6:16) “with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”

Yes, this discussion must take us to an arena of spiritual conflict. Until next time.

Fork in the Road

Someone said, “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.”

Yesterday, Mary (my wife) and I drove from the sleepy village of Burtigny to the bustling Swiss city of Lausanne to do some errands and visit  YWAM Lausanne for a meeting with one of our IT teams. We downloaded the turn by turn instructions to get to our destination. Mary played co-pilot, reading the French street names to me as I drove through the city to Office World where we would buy special envelopes for Tom Bloomer, the Provost of the University of the Nations.

Neither of us speak French. Between Mary’s interpretation of the street names and my reading of the street signs, we made several u-turns. In fact, we passed in front of Office World three times, before we noticed the big red English letters on the building.

I like the adventure of going to new places and meeting new people. However, the process of getting there can be stressful, and hilarious, especially if you heard our feeble attempts to pronounce French!

How do you find your way to a new destination? How do you respond when you suddenly realize, “I have not been this way before.”

There are key moments in our lives when a decision must be made, a direction must be chosen. And there are moments when a generation faces a similar choice of major significance to the future. Our choices, especially the choices made by leaders, will effect the destiny of a generation, and perhaps hundreds of millions of people.

I see the two choices this generation of emerging leaders are given today. I see the fork in the road, and the signpost with clearly inscribed names for the two pathways.

One road is named “The Way of Increase” and the other is named “The Way of Decrease”.

Both pathways are the way of influence and change. Both ways will impact the generation. Both ways are the way of personal sacrifice. Both ways shape the future and the way power is distributed.

The Way of Increase is exciting. It is the way most will choose. It’s the way of increased power, increased popularity, and increased numbers. The way of increase is called “blessed”; it’s the way of apparent abundance.

God promises blessing and abundant life, so choosing the path will not seem foreign. It’s easy to read the sign; it’s easy to choose the path way.

The other pathway is the Way of Decrease. This sign is very difficult to read; it’s foreign, unfamiliar, and unwelcome.

Why one would to take that sharp turn toward decrease is difficult to imagine. It appears to be a complete reversal of direction. Whatever progress was made seems to be lost the moment you take this turn. The way is narrow and difficult. Suddenly the smooth road becomes a steep incline and a very rough terrain. Few take this road, and most would mistake it for a path for sheep, anyone but me.

And that’s the choice. Will you take the easy road, or the narrow road?

The Way to Increase is filled with spiritual excitement and expectations of triumphing over any that might get in your way. It is the way to power. It’s a highway with speed and comfort, and many are on that road. You can congratulate yourself when you look in your rear view mirror to see multitudes following.,.you.

The Way to Decrease is the way of surrender. It is quiet there. Few are seen of this road. Tears fall on this difficult path, but few notice. Why would anyone take this path? Why did John the Baptizer say, “I must decrease?” It can’t be God’s way. It’s not producing the numbers and the excitement we have come to expect with our great and powerful God.

But those who choose the Way to Decrease have seen the top of that steep incline on that difficult path. They have seen the One who went that way to the top of that hill of the skull, calvary’s hill. They have seen Jesus hanging on that cruel cross on the Way of Decrease.

Why did Jesus choose the Way of Decrease?

It is THAT way, the Way of Decrease, that brings true Increase to others. The way of abundance is life-giving, life-surrendering, and power giving.

So the choice is clear. Take the path to gain power, or the path to give power. For every true revival in history has been a moment when a generation of emerging leaders have chosen the Way of Decrease, giving away and distributing power to the powerless.

 

LEADERSHIP FOR STUDENT MOBILIZATION

One of the most significant shifts in world missions during the past several decades is the demographic shift in the center of gravity of World Christianity from the western world to the global south and the east. Certainly such an adjustment will require a new paradigm for world missions. Could it be a paradigm of partnership with short and long-term cooperation between established and emerging leaders in communities around the world?

If university students have historically been on the leading edge of new missionary advances, how will they be involved in the twenty-first century? Will creating partnerships with the new majority church of the global south require that some of the western models of evangelistic outreach be revised? Perhaps. We have confidence that God does want all to be saved, however the gospel from the western world has been presented as a private decision. To be sure, this is an uncertain foundation for the future. In much of the western world, this method of evangelism has too often produced a faithless, self-absorbed church, actively involved in evangelism out of fear or passivity, waiting for the rapture. Many young people have abandoned traditional church for a more secular activism.

This generation of students are uniquely positioned to travel globally with an increased awareness and engagement in social concerns, including globalization, environmental concerns, human trafficking, HIV/AIDS, and poverty. However, they lack biblical understanding of the meaning of justice. While they cry out for social justice, they fail to recognize that the scriptures, when they speak of justice, refer to the justice due to God.

What students require is biblical instruction. More importantly, students need personal input from a mentor. At a recent gathering of young leaders of the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization, they concluded something incredible:

“We believe that the most pressing need in developing (and sustaining) young leaders is personal, relational investment from the older generation, as well as some like-hearted, peer-level friends.”

Many said they feel isolated and alone in their leadership. Many agreed that they do not need more skills training or instruction.They said, “We need intimate relationships, above us and beside us, so that we can provide the same for others.”

What is required for a new thrust in short-term student missions?
If thousands of initiatives already exist around the world, such as projects that relate to the fields of politics, economic development, cultural studies, the arts and religion, then these ongoing projects offer ample opportunities for short-term participants to come alongside and help. What is required is leadership for a new generation. That leadership will produce the structure for a new paradigm. What is needed is a new way to collaborate with the multitude of amazing initiatives.

While student volunteers for missionary endeavors were typically western during the 19th and 20th centuries, today’s student volunteers are from every nation. A new structure for missions mobilization should therefore be a way to offer a world-wide emerging generation of students the means to serve and learn alongside on-going projects around the world. This new structure must be a user-friendly and self-initiated program, with personal guidance.

This new structure will require a wide collaborative network of missions-minded hosts, mentors, and donors, working together to facilitate a new generation of student missions mobilization.

What is the lasting impact of a short-term cross-cultural student service project?

Internships benefit both the field project and the student. Many project leaders have expressed concern about the efficacy of short-term participation in missions. Therefore, rather than request the opportunity to send students to their field project, field hosts will initiate the invitation and determine the timing, the number of students, and the education level of those they invite. Qualified field projects that express the need for short-term assistance become hosts for student volunteers. The problems of short-term missions are many, however they can be resolved as mature and experienced leaders, such as our Hosts and Mentors, assist the Student with issues of language, culture, theology, and service.

Not only will they provide specific assistance at the invitation of field projects, students with international experience have proven to be “landing careers with international or multinational organizations.”

Practical service and careers are important, however the ultimate aim is lasting relationships, which are the fruit of a person following God’s call. From short-term participation comes long-term relationships, including the possibility that former student volunteers become donors or staff of the project they serve.

How are lasting relationships sustained?
Communities of christians are no longer merely local. Just like the apostle Paul extended his circle of missional partners through letters, today’s communities are more and more virtual. This new missions mobilization movement will require that we utilize all the collaborative tools of the internet. Individuals and groups are connecting and organizing themselves, often with missional purpose everywhere. Relationships begin in the short-term with close communication and prayer, and are sustained for the long-term through re-engagement and as new projects and participants are added to the community.

This new structure will partner with projects in poor communities.
Projects that extend the mercy and grace of God to communities in need, especially among the poor, will provide the deepest and widest possible impact. Projects will vary. The whole system of poverty, including the restoration of relationships, are addressed through service to the cultural, social, spiritual, personal, or physical needs of a community. Jayakumar Christian writes “what is often missed when speaking of poverty from a western perspective is the tendency to view poverty from a purely materialistic worldview.”

In order to address poverty, students should be mentored in a biblical christian view of poverty, understanding that poverty is a loss of identity and vocation.

Why is the mobilization of university students strategic?
University students will remain on the leading edge of new missional thrusts and structures because the university is God’s idea. The university is a cathedral of worship to the ways of God in every arena of society. God is the original creator, gardener, artist, law giver, communicator, builder and architect. etc. Missional engagement in a community, when emphasizing restoration of relationships, will include a myriad of approaches, including the restoration of relationship with God (religion, philosophy, theology), restoration of relationship with community (political science and economics), restoration of relationship with the environment (biology, ecology, engineering), restoration of relationship with neighbors (sociology, international relations, justice), and, finally restoration of relationship with the self (psychology, health care).

The need to create new structures for the mobilization of students into world missions cannot be under-emphasized. What is urgently required are leaders for a new generation of student volunteers.

Treading Softly

I want to recommend a documentary my new friend, David Moore, produced. The title and the message of the video, Treading Softly, communicates the value, principle, and heart of “Going Barefoot”, which has been expressed often in and through our YWAM Ministries.

Going Barefoot is a metaphor that expresses a way in which we are called to serve the Lord Jesus as his witnesses and his change agents. Metaphors can be both positive and negative, so it’s important to evaluate them from time to time.

Just like the bronze serpent, a symbol’s value can change from healing to idolatry. Symbols can be very powerful with positive and negative affects. DL Moody and other Christian leaders of the 20th century declared, “The one thing needful is salvation or conversion.” Agreed. Moody, when criticized for his evangelistic methods, is quoted saying “Better the way I am doing it, than the way you are not doing it.” However, his positive evangelistic fervor, and gift, led him to say, “I have given up on this world; I am focused on rescuing lost souls.” His metaphor could be described as a “life raft,” powerfully influencing the 20th century Evangelical Church and conveying a message of Individualism and disengagement from social concern.

Unlike a ‘life raft’, Jesus’ parables were a message of transformation and growth, not merely of rescue and certainly not disengagement. Jesus metaphors were of seeds, fields, vineyards, yeast, and houses. Jesus’ call to us in the 21st century is to again take up his cross and his message of transformation and establishment. He is calling his Church to be a witness of His kingdom, building and growing, in the earth, not the witness of a ‘life raft’ escaping the earth.

Dr. Sherwood Lingenfelter describes “pilgrimage” as a people who are “at the same time ‘otherworldly’ and ‘this worldly’, both on pilgrimage and indigenous”. Youth With A Mission is an apostolic community, “called out” and “sent” to represent the Body of Christ as agents of transformation in every culture. We are not called to escape the world, as in Lingenfelter’s “Hermit game”, or merely supply a “life raft” for a hermitage. Neither are we called to shift from one cultural “prison” to another.

Servant-leadership, modeled and taught by YWAM International’s founder, Loren Cunningham, has been supported by the metaphor “going barefoot.” Leadership, for those on pilgrimage, is relational and not positional. To be “barefoot” as a faithful Christian is more than a leadership model, however. The metaphor, ‘”barefoot,” imparts a call to tread lightly, relinquish rights, embrace responsibilities, and take the risk necessary in all relationships. Going “barefoot” and having an “open hand,” another metaphor, is representative of a life that is surrendered and, like a “hand”, is open to give and to receive. Disarming humility, represented in one who is on pilgrimage is best for producing transformation. Each of the social games put forward an opportunity and an obstacle for producing transformation, however the barefoot pilgrim walks in and out of all of the social games.

The metaphor for the apostolic and evangelistic vision of YWAM, International, has been represented in the founder’s vision.  Cunningham writes of “waves of young people crashing on every continent of the earth.” YWAM champions young people to “Go into all the world”; this is literally understood, “Go means a change of location.” Another metaphor, the “grace ticket,” often taught by Darlene Cunningham, is an effective metaphor for pilgrimage, representing the grace of God that is available at the time of need, whatever the social context. The “grace ticket” challenges us to live by faith with a willingness to be flexible to any situation trusting in God’s grace. These powerful metaphors contribute to YWAM’s forward movement and the call to every person, including the youth. To be on pilgrimage is not to be a passive non-participant; the pilgrim will likely make “waves”. As the “yeast” in Jesus’ parable is active, to be on pilgrimage is to be an active agent of transformation “working through all” of society. 

Flipping Discipleship Training

Being an innovator and change agent can be challenging, especially when it takes time to define, develop, and produce the results of an idea.

Discipleship training is not a program; it’s a command to every believer. The way we have traditionally fulfilled this responsibility has been through formal instruction in a classroom or auditorium setting. We have called those formal gatherings “church.” In time this tradition of gathering and sitting in formal settings became more important than fulfilling the command to “go, make disciples.”

Let’s get back to the command; let’s get back to where we once belonged, making disciples. Let’s let Jesus be our example. Yes, Jesus did have people sit down and listen to him, sometimes in the Temple, sometimes in a field, on a mount, or in the intimate setting of a home. However, we should notice that the setting for his instruction was rarely formal. Instead, he practiced a non-formal and often informal method of making disciples. He said, “Come and follow me.” This was Jesus’ invitation to a life of a disciple.

Let’s “flip” discipleship.

What I am suggesting is that we change things up a bit. Let’s “flip” discipleship. If we were intentional about a reversed teaching model we could deliver instruction on the go, in the regular rhythms of life. If we were to “flip” discipleship, we could follow Jesus’ model and use the education tools of the 21st century.

Everywhere, in nearly every corner of the world of education, learning is going online. Some like it and some don’t. Let’s step back a moment and consider how today’s online learning tools might help us “flip” discipleship training.

Consider a moment how an interactive online learning environment might enhance discipleship of today’s Christ followers. What if we created hundreds of short Youtube videos to deliver content and we made discipleship more personal? What if we moved lectures outside of the classroom and allowed teachers, mentors, and disciplers to spend more 1:1 time with each disciple? What if Christ-followers had the opportunity to ask questions and work through problems with the guidance of a personal mentor/teacher and find the support of others on the same journey? What if we “flipped” church and made it a community learning on the go? What if church became a community on mission, making disciples?

We have developed just such a method with online tools and videos for discipleship training. It’s called Converge (an Internship Placement & Outreach Connection). Through the ywamconverge.org and corresponding online course site, we are matching students (disciples) with field projects through homestays (sharing biblical hospitality), and equipping the students through dozens of short video lessons followed by personal interaction with a mentor (discipler).

What are the advantages of flipping discipleship training?

  • Gives teachers/mentors more time to spend 1:1 helping students
  • Builds stronger student/teacher relationships
  • Offers a way for a collaborative community of students, mentors, project hosts, and donors to move together on mission with Jesus
  • Produces the ability for students to “rewind” lessons, review them, and share them with peers. These video lessons are powerful!

Visit ywamconverge.org for more information.

Ministerial Internships In Livingstone, Zambia

Description:

Ministerial internships are services to students of Church ministries who wish to serve in African churches (specifically, in the city of Livingstone, in Zambia). The intern will live at YWAM Livingstone base and commute to a pre-selected participating church pastored by a pastor who holds a minimum of a Bachelors degree in Theology, missions, Biblical Studies or a related ministry major like, Pastoral Studies or Pastoral Counseling. The intern participate in the full life of the church working five days a week except Mondays and Tuesdays.

Required Language for Participation:

English

Fields of Study:

Youth Work

Number of Participants:

Minimum: 4

Maximum: 16

Details of Duties & Schedule: Every intern will be expected to contribute two hours of work to the YWAM base for 5 days. The total is 10 hours per week and these hours will be invested in cleanup duties around the base or duties directly related to food preparation. The intern will serve alongside local staff and students sharing the same obligation. This is important because YWAM Livingstone depends on the joyful service of its staff and students to reduce the cost of doing missions. We do not have salaried support staff.

The second area of work will be worked out in consultation with the pastor of the Church where the intern actually works. The church will communicate their expectations and the intern will also communicate his or her expectations and serve where there is a close match between the interns needs and the church’s needs. Interns are expected to attend the church where they serve exclusively. The intern is only free to attend other fellowships when doing so does not take them away from their assignment.

All interns will be expected to eat breakfast on the base, take a snack lunch with them for lunch (if working through lunch) and eat supper on the base. Breakfast is at 08:00 to 08:30 hours, lunch is at 13:00 to 14:00 hours, and supper is usually at 19:00 to 20:00 hrs.

Any Challenges: Zambia is ranked among the poor countries of the world and just jumped from the group which is the poorest of the poor to the middle of the poor. That means, if 1 was the number for the poorest of the poor, Zambia is at number 2, while,South Africa and Brazil will be at 4 and USA, and other G8 countries except China, will be at 9 (the top of the high income nations group).

What does this mean? It means you will be challenged by the lack of options. If you are not able to buy your preferred product from the main shop, you may have to settle for a local equivalent. It also means that you will have to distinguish yourself from the tourists in town through your dress code and behavior.

Evangelical Christians in Zambia do not drink alcoholic drinks so the intern will equally be expected to uphold local ethical values. The dress code for people in ministry is different from that of tourists. Interns are expected to be smart casual and that will mean spending time preparing clothes for ministry times.

Weather is also a big challenge. Most northern hemisphere people can endure our winters however, our summers are a big challenge. October to December is hot.

As an intern living on a missionary base, the intern will be sharing living spaces with others. For a season, you will have the challenge of sharing a bedroom with other interns.

Any Additional Needs: Interns who feel led to help out in practical ways with the needs of the base community can consider helping with the following:

* Donate generously towards fast internet costs. We do have wireless internet on the base but it is very expensive we have to caution guests who want to skype that our band width will not keep up. A donation that helps us get unlimited off-peak bandwidth will make the lives of interns and the rest of the base community easier.

* If you can lay hands on tutorial on DVD, it will be a huge blessing. We want to have tutorials covering high school courses, computer courses, and other teachings. There is nobody selling software in this town so any digital music production software, antivirus software and other productivity software would be helpful

* Next year Windows XP will cease to be supported so any help with computers which can run Windows 7 and above will be welcome. Bring a machine you can use while here and donate when you leave, if you can.

The base expects you to bring your own mosquito net or buy one (US$11) when you get here. Bring a repellent which is easy on you but effective, e.g., Citronella oil.

If you feel like doing more for the base where you will be hosted, pick a mini-project (something costing US$500 or less) you can do on your off days e.g., getting a metal fabricator (welder) to make a swing for the children’s jungle gym, making some monkey bars for kids to climb on, etc. The point is that there is always some where an intern can help if they wish to get involved, nevertheless, our priority is to ensure that they have a good experience of working with the churches and ministries in Livingstone.

Any Educational Requirement:

Earliest Start Date: 1/1/2013

Latest End Date: 1/1/2014

Per Day Field Expense: $20.00

Additional Fees:

Estimated Total Field Expense: $1,200.00.

Note: This amount may vary and is estimated according to the number of days the Field Project leader anticipates the participant to stay.

Tuition:

Acceptance to the IPO Project will enroll the participant in the Field Ministry Internships program, including a series of assignments with videos and online meetings with an assigned Mentor. Tuition for the FMI training varies according to country of citizenship. Learn more here.

Travel Insurance:

Medical and Evacuation Insurance for the first 30 days is included with the Tuition fee for enrolled FMI participants traveling internationally. Additional insurance is available for $1.00 USD per day.

Apply Here

Aside

Converge and a New World

Over the course of several weeks, I have withdrawn from posting here. It has been a season of intense work on various fronts, especially the creation of the ywamconverge.org site. You have likely seen several of the Converge opportunities, which pop up on this blog. The opportunities are a foretaste of much more to come. The full design of the site, and the online training videos are all rolling out in the next few weeks. Watch for more updates about the ywamconverge.org soon.
Meanwhile, I want to invite you to some further discussion on the reason the IPOconnection.org site is being developed. The ywamconverge.org is a response to a major shift in global church and missions. It is a response to the recent development of what Tom Friedman calls the “Flat World,” where virtually anyone get access information, resources, and services to create avenues for business (and missions) anywhere. This high-tech savvy generation is wired differently and they respond differently to problems and opportunities.
And the shift in the center of gravity of the church from the Western world to the Global South is also significant. I will be attending an event on the University of Wisconsin Campus that many of you might be interested in. Mark Noll, noted author of American Christianity, will be speaking on how Christianity is expanding worldwide by shrinking in American Universities. (See poster below)
I am convinced the changes present an opportunity to do church and missions differently. Every modern advance of the gospel has originated in universities, among devoted and praying students and professors. To navigate the shift to a more missional formation of church, students are finding courage through the example of the Chinese church and in prayer spaces on campuses on nearly every campus I have visited over the past several months.
What students are learning in the place of prayer is that God is not calling them to “leadership” as it has been handed down to them from recent generations. They are learning humility and servanthood. They are learning an intense love of Jesus, and an amazing faith that he will again move in miracles on campus. And there are many students with an intense passion to see the ills of global human need corrected. They seek to end human trafficking, assure that every child has access to clean water, and every woman may be treated with dignity and equality in every nation. How is this kind of change to happen? It did not come from the United Nations’ Declaration of Universal Human Rights. It requires a different kind of leadership, and a seismic shift in the way we see how culture and society changes. We must return to the words of Jesus, especially when he spoke of the mustard seed and the yeast, the small things that change everything.
This is a challenge for students and for anyone desiring to connect with what God is doing in these days. We’re used to a “leader” who gives us clear direction and we’re used to being a part of a large community of people in a hall with familiar worship. What God is calling us to is not the same tightly bounded mission driven corporate structures. Rather, God is calling a new generation of obscure, small initiatives of faithful witness. God is not calling students to a spiritualized triumphalism, but to an embracing of neighbors and an engagement with the world.  God is calling this generation to follow him on his mission. This is a challenge. It is a change to nearly everything we have known about church and missions. It requires that we press in to be taught by the Lord.
Let’s pray more fervently for one another and for eyes to see what Donald McGavran called the “bridges” God sets before us. As we do, it’s important for us to join with others on campus and “in one accord” as we share meals from house to house, or dorm to dorm. And let’s worship Jesus, our vision and true visionary, our model of self-sacrificing love.
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Flying Car Internship

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IPO Project: Flying Car Internship

Description:

The Maverick Flying Car is designed for use in humanitarian aid and mission work. It takes a team to keep this technology running at peak efficiency. Consider putting your talents to use, assisting in various aspects of this cutting edge project and see it soar to greater heights. Come fly with us.

Required Language for Participation:

English

Fields of Study:

Accounting & Finance; Aviation; Business & Management; Communications & Journalism; Computers & Information Systems; Creative Writing; Internet Technology; Engineering: Elec, Chem, Mech

Number of Participants:

Minimum: 1

Maximum: 4

Details of Duties & Schedule: Assist in the various needs of Aviation Education Initiative to operate our mission with the Maverick Flying Car.
Mechanical.
Administrative
Technology based
Media based
Communications

Any Additional Needs: Computer

Earliest Start Date: 3/6/2013

Latest End Date: 1/1/2014

Per Day Field Expense: $10.00

Estimated Total Field Expense: $400.00.

Note: This amount may vary and is estimated according to the number of days the Field Project leader anticipates the participant to stay.

Tuition:

Acceptance to the IPO Project will enroll the participant in the Field Ministry Internships program, including a series of assignments with videos and online meetings with an assigned Mentor. Tuition for the FMI training varies according to country of citizenship. Learn more here.

Travel Insurance:

Medical and Evacuation Insurance for the first 30 days is included with the Tuition fee for enrolled FMI participants traveling internationally. Additional insurance is available for $1.00 USD per day.

Apply Here

Youth Camp Building Project

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IPO Project: Youth Camp Building ProjectFocus: Youth & Young Adults

Location: YWAM Livingstone – Zimbabwe

Description:

The youth camp building project is the heart of Youth With A Mission Livingstone’s missionary mobilization. Using this facility we will invite high-school students to spiritual and career orientation camps. What does it involve?

* The first and most important mini-project is to ensure that there is sufficient water supply to the campus. To do this, a team of 5 construction interns will be needed to build the concrete water tower, ferro-cement tank, and put a submersible pump system to haul water out of our reservoir into the tank. It will be gravity fed into the buildings to avoid power supply problems. The local building Engineer in charge of the city will inspect the project.

*The next mini-project will be a stand-alone kitchen. We are in the middle of a city so this kitchen will be checked by city health officials. The ideal size is a 15m x 15m building where a third is used for cooking space and the rest for dining.

* The next mini project will be to design a Youth endurance course that is as challenging as it is exciting. We are targeting children and youths between ages 10 and 21. Interested interns must include a student of fitness training. We will bring in students for Vacation Bible Schools and have them go through the endurance course too.

*The main project will be the construction of two self-contained camper’s dormitories (one for girls and one for boys). Even if a team of students can do this, it is capital intensive and can only be done when God allows the right participants and the right funds to be available.

Why such a facility? As a Christian Mission, we believe that camps are effective at helping youths with life-skills, spiritual direction, and other teaching which churches are not able to provide. We hope to use them for addiction prevention and for socializing young people into the values they need in order to become contributors in their communities and families of origin.

Required Language for Participation:

English

Fields of Study:

Construction & Civil Engineering

Number of Participants:

Minimum: 3

Maximum: 10

Details of Duties & Schedule: Interns will be expected to:

Participate in base intercession from 07:00 to 08:00hrs on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays

Take Sundays and Mondays off

Work Tuesdays – Saturdays

Supervise hired hands

Depending on the time of the year and weather conditions, interns will work a 35 hour week from 08:30 to 16:30 hrs. There is a lunch hour nap during the hottest part of the day in the hot season. In that season lunch break goes from 13:00 to 15:30hrs making 17:30 the knock-off time.

The expectation is that interns will take on a mini-project and execute it to the satisfaction of the City’s Building Engineer’s inspection team.

Any Challenges: The challenges include:

The pace of work-flow: Things are not mechanized, we do not just build forms and order for a truck to come and pour the concrete. We do everything by hand ourselves

We are not in a tornado zone, so we build in concrete and the local hands we hire turn out to be very knowledgeable about working with cement and mortar.

Whether may be a challenge: Livingstone is in the Zambezi valley and con get very hot and also very cold in July and August. It never freezes but occasionally frost bites and kills plant leaves.

Any Additional Needs: All interns interested in the building project should be able to walk 6 miles or 10km. That is how far away the city center is. There are taxis which will do the distance for the equivalent of US$5 each way, but, in case there is none available, it is always a good idea to be able to walk.

Our weather is the opposite of the weather in the USA, so, students coming from deep winter at home will battle to acclimatize and enjoy the opposite quickly.

If you are on a special diet, you will have to buy yourself your own food and cook it yourself. We are a missionary base and we are geared to cater for people who are prepared to even leave at the level of local people. The idea is to “step down” a foreigner to the local culture, gently. The base culture is a half-way house between local and international.

What if you want to help us by donating to the project?

Equipment which has a provision for power supply at 220v is a huge help.

All the mini-projects we plan for require financial help so interns who are prepared to buy their own materials will be most helpful

Closer to the time of travel, it would be brilliant to get a heads up because we can think of what to bring when we know how many Kilos they have been offered.

Earliest Start Date: 3/1/2013

Latest End Date: 12/31/2013

Per Day Field Expense: $30.00

Estimated Total Field Expense: $1,050.00.

Note: This amount may vary and is estimated according to the number of days the Field Project leader anticipates the participant to stay.

Tuition:

Acceptance to the IPO Project will enroll the participant in the Field Ministry Internships program, including a series of assignments with videos and online meetings with an assigned Mentor. Tuition for the FMI training varies according to country of citizenship. Learn more here.

Travel Insurance:

Medical and Evacuation Insurance for the first 30 days is included with the Tuition fee for enrolled FMI participants traveling internationally. Additional insurance is available for $1.00 USD per day.

Apply Here

 

Reaching 50 producing 500

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IPO Project: Reaching 50 producing 500Focus: Church Planting; International Students; Youth & Young Adults

Description:

Church Plant in a Multicultural City in South Africa

Required Language for Participation:

English; Afrikaans

Fields of Study:

Child Development; Communications & Journalism; Community Development; Counseling; Creative Writing; English; Intercultural Studies; Internet Technology; Languages & Linguistics; Marriage & Family; Public Relations & Marketing; Sports & Recreation Mgmt; Theology & Religion; Video & Photography; Web Design; Youth Work

Number of Participants:

Minimum: 1

Maximum: 4

Details of Duties & Schedule: Student will be involved in reaching out to neighborhood focused outreaches, finding ways to get people to come to meetings during the week and / or on Sunday. Students are free to make their own strategy and will finalize those with the coordinator that is assigned to oversee him or her.
Some of the things that are already in place and in the pipeline are:
• Workshops open for everyone.
• Street evangelism.
• Small-church group.
• Teaching trips to eastern Europe YWAM bases.
• Prayer meetings open for everyone.
• Website English in development
• Etc etc
Students will have great freedom to bring in new ideas and all will be taken in consideration.

Any Challenges: Challenges are plenty, you’re in a religious city where there are many churches but Jesus is left in the book. You will be working in small groups with different people from different church backgrounds. Being in host family or living with other students can also be a challenge.

Earliest Start Date: 8/31/2013

Latest End Date: 1/1/2014

Fees:

Per Day Field Expense: $10.00

Additional Fees:

Estimated Total Field Expense: $1,000.00.

Note: This amount may vary and is estimated according to the number of days the Field Project leader anticipates the participant to stay.

Tuition:

Acceptance to the IPO Project will enroll the participant in the Field Ministry Internships program, including a series of assignments with videos and online meetings with an assigned Mentor. Tuition for the FMI training varies according to country of citizenship. Learn more here.

Travel Insurance:

Medical and Evacuation Insurance for the first 30 days is included with the Tuition fee for enrolled FMI participants traveling internationally. Additional insurance is available for $1.00 USD per day.

Apply Here

YWAM community development project

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IPO Project: YWAM Base with community development focusFocus: Business & Economic Development; Children at Risk; Church Planting; Environmental Stewardship; Food Resources; HIV/AIDS Awareness; International Students; Malaria Prevention; Poverty; Pure Water Resources; Solar Light &/or Heat; Women & Children Health; Youth & Young Adults

Location: Zimbabwe, Africa

Description:

Youth With A Mission Base in Zimbabwe, Africa. Our mission is to empower and inspire lives to be active committed followers of Christ through knowing God and acts of love through community development services, training & education and reaching the unreached with the good news.

Required Language for Participation:

English

Fields of Study:

Agriculture; Child Development; Community Development; Counseling; Education & Teaching; English; Environmental Studies; Hospitality & Service Mgmt; Internet Technology; Marriage & Family; Social Work; Sports & Recreation Mgmt; Theology & Religion; Web Design; Youth Work; Medicine & Nursing

Number of Participants:

Minimum: 1

Maximum: 15

Details of Duties & Schedule: YWAM BASED programs

Any Challenges: basic community living

 

Earliest Start Date: 1/1/2013

Latest End Date: 1/1/2020

Per Day Field Expense: $10.00

Estimated Total Field Expense: $400.00.

Note: This amount may vary and is estimated according to the number of days the Field Project leader anticipates the participant to stay.

Tuition:

Acceptance to the IPO Project will enroll the participant in the Field Ministry Internships program, including a series of assignments with videos and online meetings with an assigned Mentor. Tuition for the FMI training varies according to country of citizenship. Learn more here.

Travel Insurance:

Medical and Evacuation Insurance for the first 30 days is included with the Tuition fee for enrolled FMI participants traveling internationally. Additional insurance is available for $1.00 USD per day.

Apply Here

 

Children at risk – South Africa

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IPO Project: Children at risk – South AfricaFocus: Children at Risk

Community: University Community

Location: Region: Sub-Sahara Africa

Description:

Helping to form Pre-schools by discipling African women in poor areas. Influencing kids at risk and kids without proper family life. Hiv Aids percentage very high. Counseling training available – to help women and/or children.

 

Required Language for Participation:

English

Fields of Study:

Other

Number of Participants:

Minimum: 1

Maximum: 5

Details of Duties & Schedule: Work in the community 5 hours per day, 5 days per week. YWAM fellowship meetings 3 times per week (2hours each). Living with international community.

Any Challenges: Emotional challenges with lots of poverty. Being able to minister over cross-cultural boundaries. Be able to bring reconciliation.

Any Additional Needs: Pocket money for extra outings

 

Earliest Start Date: 6/1/2013

Latest End Date: 8/31/2013

Per Day Field Expense: $10.00

Estimated Total Field Expense: $900.00.

Note: This amount may vary and is estimated according to the number of days the Field Project leader anticipates the participant to stay.

Tuition:

Acceptance to the IPO Project will enroll the participant in the Field Ministry Internships program, including a series of assignments with videos and online meetings with an assigned Mentor. Tuition for the FMI training varies according to country of citizenship. Learn more here.

Travel Insurance:

Medical and Evacuation Insurance for the first 30 days is included with the Tuition fee for enrolled FMI participants traveling internationally. Additional insurance is available for $1.00 USD per day.

Apply Here

 

The Ropes Course

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IPO Project: The Ropes CourseFocus: Other; Youth & Young Adults

 

Description:

“Life is a combination of billions of experiences. It’s not the quantity or quality of experiences but what we learn from each experience that is important and shapes us.” (Author Unknown)

The Ropes Course is an obstacle course made of ropes, cables, beams and tires that gives new unexpected experiences where groups can be challenged and shaped.

It is a wonderful opportunity for families, friends, groups of students and teachers, companies, as well as sports teams to improve and develop their character, listening skills and leadership.

The Ropes Course exists to:

• Instill meaningful life lessons within a person in a fun, creative, and exciting way.

• Bring about growth and maturity within individuals and groups

• Support and supplement organizations in developing team work in people

• Be an alternative assistance to people at risk to discover their natural gifts, talents, and potentials in life

• Assist people to take risks in a safe environment while discovering the joys of success both personally and collectively.

We offer 7 low Ropes Course elements (up to 13 ft high) and 5 high elements (up to 65 ft high), as well as other portable team games.

We work with groups from 8 – 50 people.
Duration of the course runs between 4 – 8 hours as arranged.
The Ropes Course is available from May to November.

Required Language for Participation:

English

Fields of Study:

Sports & Recreation Mgmt; Youth Work

Number of Participants:

Minimum: 1

Maximum: 3

Details of Duties & Schedule: Student will be involved as co-facilitator when working with groups at the Ropes Course or/and leading/working with portable team building games while visiting youth groups, camps, churches etc.

The schedule of the course is flexible. It can often change due to bad weather (strong showers and/or wind, storm).

We usually have 1 – 3 teams coming per day (in the busiest weeks of season all five working days + Saturday can be busy).
When we will have days without teams participant will be a part of practical works at the Ropes Course’s area/office.

Appropriate training to give feedback and/or will be provided.

Overview of a Facilitators Role:

CHALLENGE that involves:

o Going beyond previous experiences
o Pushing the limits and discovering new truths about oneself
o Finding new ways to do things
o Dealing with fear by accepting help and support

MODIFY as needed due to:

o Time constraints
o Poor or inappropriate group behaviors or problems
o Flexibility needed to reach group goals

REFOCUS by paying attention to:

o Group’s loss of interest, energy, and direction
o Group’s need of being reminded of rules, instructions, safety
o Group’s need of fresh introductions to a new component without “policing” the group

LISTEN so as to:

o Gather information from group for debriefing
o Note interpersonal issues among the group
o Keep group safe, motivated, and moving toward their goal

TEACHABLE MOMENTS that can assist the group or a team member to:

o Be open to discovery and learning
o Realize the life lesson of the experience and how it connects to their life outside the course

HUMOR in order to:

o Make and keep things fun
o Keep group energy up and moving forward
o Spark creativity, imagination and positive humor among the group

Any Challenges: We work with people from different backgrounds, mostly non Christians.

Need of flexibility because there can be sudden changes of schedule.

The YWAM base lies in a rural area. If student is use to urban life there can be challenges. The closest town/shop is 1 mile from there, city – 11 miles.

Earliest Start Date: 4/21/2013

Latest End Date: 10/31/2013

Per Day Field Expense: $10.00

Estimated Total Field Expense: $600.00.

Note: This amount may vary and is estimated according to the number of days the Field Project leader anticipates the participant to stay.

Tuition:

Acceptance to the IPO Project will enroll the participant in the Field Ministry Internships program, including a series of assignments with videos and online meetings with an assigned Mentor. Tuition for the FMI training varies according to country of citizenship. Learn more here.

Travel Insurance:

Medical and Evacuation Insurance for the first 30 days is included with the Tuition fee for enrolled FMI participants traveling internationally. Additional insurance is available for $1.00 USD per day.

Apply Here

 

New IPO Project: :”Community Development”

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IPO Project: Community Development

Focus: Food Resources; Malaria Prevention; Poverty; Pure Water Resources; Solar Light &/or Heat; Women & Children Health; Youth & Young Adults

Community:

Location: Region:

Description:

Chisuma Village Project 2013

Pillar of Legacy
Pillar of Legacy is a Christian organization. We feel called by God to serve the poor in ways that make a lasting difference. In the Zambezi Valley in Zimbabwe, there is a crisis of poverty and hunger. We believe that the teachings and principles of Christ, when applied to people’s lives, will improve their spiritual and physical well-being. We wish to partner with the people to teach Christian values, agricultural and artisan skills, and business methods which will help them provide for their families. We will encourage the village community to come together in giving care to those who cannot care for themselves. We want to leave a legacy of love which empowers the people to use their strengths and God-given talents to enhance their own lives and the lives of others.

Requirements

Required Language for Participation:

English

Fields of Study:

Accounting & Finance; Agriculture; Business & Management; Child Development; Community Development; Construction & Civil Engineering; Counseling; English; Environmental Studies; Marriage & Family; Social Work; Sports & Recreation Mgmt; Theology & Religion; Youth Work; Medicine & Nursing

Number of Participants:

Minimum: 1

Maximum: 15

Details of Duties & Schedule: Developing ministries, and working alongside the local staff

Any Challenges: Language barrier, it is volunteering so people has to raise their own funds.
It is rural, so less comfort

Any Additional Needs:

Any Educational Requirement:

Dates:

Earliest Start Date: 1/1/2013

Latest End Date: 1/1/2016

Fees:

Per Day Field Expense: $10.00

Additional Fees:

Estimated Total Field Expense: $400.00.

Note: This amount may vary and is estimated according to the number of days the Field Project leader anticipates the participant to stay.

Tuition:

Acceptance to the IPO Project will enroll the participant in the Field Ministry Internships program, including a series of assignments with videos and online meetings with an assigned Mentor. Tuition for the FMI training varies according to country of citizenship. Learn more here.

Travel Insurance:

Medical and Evacuation Insurance for the first 30 days is included with the Tuition fee for enrolled FMI participants traveling internationally. Additional insurance is available for $1.00 USD per day.

Apply Here

Children’s and Village Outreach

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IPO Project: Children’s and Village OutreachFocus: Poverty; Women & Children Health; Youth & Young Adults

 

Description:

Children’s ministry at schools, orphanage and village. Disciping children, low key evangelistic programs and teaching English. We also have occasional medical camp outreaches in the village which open the door for later church planting.

Requirements

Required Language for Participation:

English

Fields of Study:

Child Development; Community Development; Education & Teaching; English; Intercultural Studies; International Studies; Occupational & Physical Therapy; Social Work; Youth Work; Medicine & Nursing

Number of Participants:

Minimum: 1

Maximum: 12

Details of Duties & Schedule: Children’s programs in the village, teaching English, School programs, Orphanage programs and discipleship, ministry to special needs children and elderly. Some medical camps in villages. Ministry preparation for activities for the children, taking part in programs, one aspect of the medical camp (giving medicine, organizing, bandages, etc) Any training needed is given.

Any Challenges: A different culture, depending on season the hot weather, language barriers, different food and traditions

 

Earliest Start Date: 2/18/2013

Latest End Date: 1/1/2016

Per Day Field Expense: $10.00

Estimated Total Field Expense: $400.00.

Note: This amount may vary and is estimated according to the number of days the Field Project leader anticipates the participant to stay.

Tuition:

Acceptance to the IPO Project will enroll the participant in the Field Ministry Internships program, including a series of assignments with videos and online meetings with an assigned Mentor. Tuition for the FMI training varies according to country of citizenship. Learn more here.

Travel Insurance:

Medical and Evacuation Insurance for the first 30 days is included with the Tuition fee for enrolled FMI participants traveling internationally. Additional insurance is available for $1.00 USD per day.

Apply Here

 

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,600 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 8 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

New IPO Project: :”Mother & Newborn Health Care Practicum”

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IPO Project: Mother & Newborn Health Care Practicum

Focus: Women & Children Health

Community:

Location: Region: Sub-Sahara Africa

Description:

Requirements

Required Language for Participation:

English

Fields of Study:

Education & Teaching

Number of Participants:

Minimum: 1

Maximum: 7

Details of Duties & Schedule:

Any Challenges: Difficult environment and living conditions. Electricity and water, can cause delay. We will need to remain prayerful to deal with difficulties. Patience and determination are necessary, especially learning how to come alongside instead of taking over.

Any Additional Needs:

  • Baby clothes, especially for newborns.
  • Birth related equipment and instruments for facilities.
  • Needles, syringes, meds to prevent hemorrhage, suture, etc.

Any Educational Requirement:

Dates:

Earliest Start Date: 10/1/2013

Latest End Date: 11/30/2012

Fees:

Per Day Field Expense: $20.00

Additional Fees: $489.00

Estimated Total Field Expense: $769.00.

Note: This amount may vary and is estimated according to the number of days the Field Project leader anticipates the participant to stay.

Tuition:

Acceptance to the IPO Project will enroll the participant in the Field Ministry Internships program, including a series of assignments with videos and online meetings with an assigned Mentor. Tuition for the FMI training varies according to country of citizenship. Learn more here.

Travel Insurance:

Medical and Evacuation Insurance for the first 30 days is included with the Tuition fee for enrolled FMI participants traveling internationally. Additional insurance is available for $1.00 USD per day.

Apply Here