Sunday, May 18, 2008

more iPOC

I feel after posting my blog on iPOC that I ought to tell you why I wrote it or what inspired me.
It was not listening to itunes while running and using my ipod. It is not because we are a family of four with three ipods. We actually had four until this winter when I came in from a run and put the ipod shuffle into my sweatsuit pocket. Little did I know it needed a wash but I have learned that while they wash nicely they do not seem to dry out very well. Thus we are a family with three and i have to now steal (i mean borrow) my wife's ipod shuffle. I also have to hide it as I run for it is pink or purple but that is another story.

I was inspired because i have a lot of volunteer groups that come over there to work on various projects and I use this tool to debrief each day. We are able as a mission team to look back and talk about what we prayed for, how God answered those prayers. We are able to note observations about the people and culture which help us understand some needs that may exist. From there we find relevant and natural ways to connect with the people.

As we talked one day one of the mission team participants said "you know, we can do this at home". I said, NO YOU CANT.. just kidding. Of course you can. You can do this anywhere. Again, it is not a program it is about living your life amongst the people as Jesus did. In mission talk this is "incarnational ministry". Wherever you are and whatever you are doing you represent Christ. You are His ambassadors. That has to be somewhere in the New Testament.

So I am a HUGE advocate of taking what you do overseas on a mission trip and making practical applications at your home. If you are willing to pay a lot of money to go to Mexico (for example but you could fill in the blank anywhere) then it would make sense that you would do all you could to minister to the Mexicans in your own city. If you are interested in reaching people from the 10/40 window in their country then we should be involved in doing it in our own city.

How do you do that?

Pray for them. Pray for opportunities
Observe the people and look for potential needs
Connect with them
Do it continuously

Friday, May 9, 2008


These days, I hear a lot about churches trying to be more evangelistic or missions-minded. Church leaders may create a new program or come up with a new idea to attract people to the church in order to reach their communities. While the intention behind these programs and ideas may be right on target, I believe evangelism and missions can be much more personal. The special events and weekly meetings of a church are not designed to do the work that we as individual followers should do daily.

As I understand it, Jesus did not talk about how the church needs to have creative programs in order to reach people. Instead He gave that job to each one of us as His followers.

Consider what Jesus says in Acts 1:8:
• You will receive power.
• You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the Earth.
• I will be with you.

We are all missionaries.
Some people are called to live out this calling in another cultural context, but all of us are called to live it out wherever we are. That’s what living missionally is all about.

Living missionally doesn’t come down to a formula, but I must admit: I was inspired by a certain brand of computers in regards to how to think and live missionally wherever I am. This little non–formula is called “iPOC3.” I am not a huge fan of acrostics, but iPOC3 reminds me of some basic things that I can do on a daily basis, no matter where I am, to work toward that end:

Pray: Prayer should be the foundation for all we do. Through prayer, I have seen people who were previously closed to spiritual things really open up. I have seen hard–to–reach areas become receptive through prayer. Prayer is the essential piece for living a missional life. We often make time for prayer during our quiet times, but prayer should also be an active part of the rest of the day. As you move about in your daily life, pray. Pray for open doors. Pray that God will show you people with whom you can talk. Pray for opportunities. Pray that God will open up the hearts of the people wherever you are.

Observe: As you pray, you also observe where God is at work. Observe the people and discover possible needs that you can meet and ways that you can connect with them.

Connect: This final point can involve almost anything as you relate to people. Connecting with people can be striking up a conversation with a post office clerk. It can be walking with an elderly person as he or she crosses the street. It can be helping someone carry his or her groceries when it’s clear the load is a little too heavy.

At the end of the day, I believe evangelism today is more than a simple formula. It is your actions toward people. Evangelism is highly relational, and God will provide you opportunities to connect with people.

Continuously seek to have spiritual Conversations: The second and third Cs of iPOC3 would drive home the importance of continuously seeking to enter spiritual conversations with people as you connect and as God opens doors. You may even be able to strike up a lasting friendship with someone you connect with during a typical day. If that’s the case, who knows? You may even find that the person is interested in spiritual things and might be open to hanging out regularly to talk about life and spirituality. From my experience, that is a much better, less threatening, often more sensitive option than simply taking that person to a local church in order to be taught more. That’s because I believe that, as followers of Jesus, we are all equipped with the ability to speak truth into their lives and tell them about Jesus. If that sounds intimidating, go back to that Acts 1:8 thing. “You will be my witnesses,” Jesus says. He will give us power and help us in this. He promises.

To recap, iPOC3 comes down to ...
I pray
I observe
I connect with people Continuously Seeking to have spiritual conversations

In conclusion, I need to add that iPOC3 is not a program or something else to do in your church. For me it has been an easy way to remember what I should be doing as I go about my day, but there’s no magic formula. Living missionally is about who we are and what we are becoming. Pray and seek out what God might want that to look like in your daily life.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


I have to be honest.
I was not expecting this.
I came around the curve near our house. We live on the edge of the Black Forest and I had to adjust my speed limit because of Frogs crossing the road. Between the hours of 8 pm and 6 am in this area you have to be careful for there are frogs crossing the roads and you can only go 50 kph.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

As We Go...

The Church Recapturing the Great Commission

Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age."
Matthew 28:18 -20, The Message

I believe there is a basic assumption that Jesus made when he gave us the Great Commission. He assumed that as disciples of his, as followers of the Way that we would naturally do what he did.. Make Disciples and that we would be willing to do it wherever we are living whether that is in our own city or in a land far away.

The early disciples took serious this charge. They told others rather boldly about Jesus. I think they did it in their normal every day life. In most cases they did this within the context of their own job and families and friends.

But something unique seemed to happen in Acts 13. As the church was gathered worshiping and praying the Holy Spirit spoke to the church and told them to set a part Barnabus and Saul.

What could even be more unique is that the church obeyed the Spirit and they laid hands on them and sent them on their way. Lately these verses have sparked a renewed vision for me. A vision where the church recaptures the Great Commission.
Obviously at that early point in church history we did not have mission boards or societies. We simply had the church finding a way to send it's own people. How can we recapture that today? How can the church today find creative ways to act globally in world missions?
I may have some ideas. stay tuned.