Monday, February 21, 2005

The Embrace of Spontaneity

So instead of going to see McManus in L.A., I did something about a million times cooler. I had the opportunity to jump on a last minute flight to Boston, Ma, only to drive up to Vermont to see some of my dearest of friends. So what if I only had approximately 33 hours to fellowship? I slept a total of 4.5 hours during that time frame in order to ensure the maximum amount of fellowship time. Needless to say this has hands down been the best time that I have had all year!!!!

It has been a solid eight months, since I have had the chance to return to my Alma Mater. Of course, the people there are what make it home to me as you might've heard the old cliche "home is where the heart is". So about a million things are going through my sleep deprived mind as I type these words, but I just had to try to put a few things down before I dive into the rest of my "regular " work routine.

One... It was an awesome honor and priviledge to be able to speak to the IV ministry leadership team back at Norwich. Ya'll are all continuously on my heart and mind even though I live 5,000 miles away in the middle of the ocean. Your zeal and love for God astounds me and continually encourages me to continue in my own personal journey towards the higher calling of Christ.

Two... I must admit that it was quite daunting to look into all of their eyes as I spoke from God's Word and to see possibly the deepest level of trust that I've ever encountered in the entirety of my existence on this green earth. It really was a little taste of Heaven to be able to share in person my heart's story, and to listen to theirs in the briefest of moments that I spent with them.

Three... The King of Kings yet again revealed another awsome truth to me this weekend. Over the course of the warm welcome that I recieved from my friends, God introduced me to a new level of intimacy with Him. Somwhere I guess in the back of my mind, I knew the truth of God loving people through other people. But MAN.... I experienced His embrace with over 10 people staying up ALL night just to visit with me.... As His people, we really are living VESSELS of His love to a dying a broken world. A true community of God's Kingdom truly is unlike anything this world could ever create.

Four... I will close with this shout out to my brothers back in New England.... You really are my heros in the faith. Tommy, Cyle, Ryan, Bryan, Matt, Ralph, Chris, Steve and several others.......... LIKE.... Lydia and Barbara.... two of my key sisters over there!!!!! Your geniune love for God, each other, as well as those who are suffering from a lack of eternal life on continually inspires me to literally work out my faith with fear and trembling. Each of your stories have helped me along the way to get a better picture of His Ultimate Reality. Your testimonies are unleashing the Kingdom of God in your relationships with others.... Thank you so much for involving me in your lives...

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

"An unSTOPPABLE Force"

So one of the questions that I have been struggling with is this.... Who might have a good idea of what CHURCH God's way really looks like? You know??? Minus the petty legalism.... minus the despicable religiousness.... a community that embodies a genuine Kingdom culture in its diversity as well as its actions, its committment as well as its ethos.........

The more books I read.... the more sermons that I hear... the more I am convinced that Erwin McManus is one of the forefront spiritual leaders on this issue of the western church. The book of his that I am reading now basically is his attempt to describe the vision that God has given him for Mosaic.... Yes... Mosaic is the name of that particular community of believers found in Los Angeles. I recommend checking it out at www.mosaic.org .

You might be wondering how in the world does ENS MOUNT aka Ryan have the time to be reading books and updating his blog??? Well... the answer to that question would be that I am in school in San Diego, CA. Which also means that I very well may have the opportunity this weekend to visit this community of believers IN PERSON.... To see what all the hype is about...

I am intrigued with McManus' ideas of apostolic ethos.... What is that? Well, it maybe difficult for me to explain, so I will quote his initial thoughts on ethos first....

""If a worldview is the way a community sees reality, then an ethos is the way a community feels reality. Ethos is what happends when many individuals make autonomous choices that create a unified movement. Ethos moves us when nothing else will and like nothing else will. Ethos can be described as a tribal emotion. Like emotions fire us up, ethos is the tribal fire. Ethos is the fuel of our caring and the fire of our passions. It's the fundamental character or spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, and practices of a group or society. The distinguishing character or disposition of a community, group, or person. "

"Ethos is a corporate-intense mental state that arises subjectively, not only in an individual, but also in the entire community. When something happens, everyone feels it the same way. When something is violated, everyone is offended. When something is obtained, everyone celebrates. In many ways an ethos is an emotion that doesn't have to be prompted, but everyone feels it equally in response to an event."

"Spiritual leadership is creating and shaping an apostolic ethos within the local church" Mcmanus speaks of spiritual leadership in terms of apostolic ethos instigation in your local spheres of influence.

So what is this word apostolic about....??? I have been running into it like a brick wall for quite some time now. My best explanation would be to equate it with being missional and passionately purpose filled in forcefully advancing God's Kingdom in the hearts of those whom you are in relationships with.

It means intentionally loving people... caring for them... NO not for the purpose of conversion.... NO not so you can feel good about yourself... NO not so you can get to Heaven.... NO not so you can fill the requirements of a good "Christian"...

It means loving people for the pure sake of loving them. It means living a life of servanthood, sacrifice and submission out of love and allegience to the King of Kings REGARDLESS of any resulting consequences..... PAIN.... RISK..... DISCOMFORT..... It means displaying resolve in the face of adversity..... tenacity during the most challenging of times.... committment to your friends when in disagreement... humility at all times... destroying fear in the hearts of men… curing the sick…. healing the lame…

BOTTOM LINE: To live is Christ, to die is gain…..

It's a high calling.... but hey if we are going to this God following thing.... we might as well go all out.... I will end with another quote from McManus to chew on...

The Barbarian Way
"The greatest threat to the movement of Jesus Christ is Christianity."

Ironically, I find this to be all too true......
Free Web Counter
Dentist North Carolina