Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dancing Father...

I love to be in settings of worship. Unfortunately, all too often, these moments can become trite and predictable.

Some people seem to be simply graced by God with a deep sensitivity to the moment that is raw, authentic and passionate, yet all the while pure and untainted. When these characteristics are present, worship transcends words on the screen and begins to speak something into the very depths of our being. At the same time, these moments help release something from the very core of who we are, as we connect with, relate to and worship God.

Recently we had a concert called Music & Lyrics.

It was a night featuring songs that had been written in-house by members of our community. It was an evening filled with energy, passion, creativity and individual diversity.

For many, the songs sung were ones that have emerged from the very everydayness of life. Something powerful transpires when we can begin to discern God in the midst of the everyday mundane moments of our lives - they are transformed...

The following is one of the songs featured by my favorite worship leader (and wife), Charissa Jobe.

video

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Loft :: Engaging Children's Spirituality through the Senses of Learning

I love my church...

...and I'm grateful for the commitment that it has made to the (intentional) spiritual formation of (our) children...

...and the emergence of such vision in the form of an environment conducive to engage children through various venues, with multiple learning styles in a layered fashion...

...Now, may God continue to help us develop and build a community/team of leaders passionately and authentically releasing life, strength and wisdom into these young lives...

...by the prayer-filled power and presence of God that produces true and lasting life-formation...

video

...more to come!

Friday, May 23, 2008

If God Loved Every Person...

“If God loved each person
then every meeting with another person involved the unique discovery
of that which was the object of God’s love in him,
of that which came to him from God.”
~Kathryn Spink~
(Mother Teresa: A Complete Authorized Biography)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Active Learning

It's just been three weeks since we launched The Loft, yet I'm convinced we are journeying down the path of the absolute best way(s) to connect, educate and assist people (particularly children) engage God.

One of our core workshops at Calvary is Discovering Your Essence: Temperament, Personality and Spirituality. It's an interactive look at how God has designed each of us uniquely. It is out of that uniqueness that He has designed us to connect with Him. Gary Thomas in his book Sacred Pathways does a brilliant job outlining these. Just this year alone, we've presented this workshop to our community five times with approximately one-hundred-and-forty-five people taking part. Our next offering is Monday, June 2 - 6:00-9:00pm. I believe it is one of the core concepts followers of Christ can understand and integrate into their understanding of God and what it means to walk with Him and spend time with Him.

This idea of uniqueness and understanding that each of us not only connect to God differently, but learn differently, grow differently, even connect to one another in community differently is one of the key foundational principles for how we have re-designed our approach to the spiritual formation of children. The Loft is a place where we are seeking to help engage children in various learning styles with multiple layers. Obviously, not every child will be super excited about EVERY venue, but research alone shows us that every venue will nonetheless ignite something within each child's brain and we believe as well, deep within their being (soul/spirit).

The following is a clip detailing a dimension of how the brain functions and the correlation between movement, activity, exercise and actual learning and attention. The clip is of Dr. John Medina outlining a chapter from his book Brain Rules.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Alert and Oriented Times Four

John Eldredge, in his book Waking the Dead refers to the movie The Perfect Storm, where he describes how an injured seamen offshore is treated. The first thing they do, he tells us, is to evaluate their degree of consciousness.

"When Spillane (The Perfect Storm) treats injured seamen offshore, one of the first things he evaluates is their degree of consciousness. The highest level, known as 'alert and oriented times four,' describes almost everyone in an everyday situation. They know who they are, where they are, what time it is, and what's just happened. If someone suffers a blow to the head, the first thing they lose is recent events--'alert times three'--and the last thing they lose is their identity. A person who has lost all levels of consciousness, right down to their identity, is said to be 'alert and oriented times zero.' When John Spillane wakes up in the water, he is alert and oriented times zero. His understanding of the world is reduced to the fact that he exists, nothing more. Almost simultaneously, he understands that he is in excruciating pain. For a long time, that is all he knows.

John Spillane is a para-rescue jumper sent into the North Atlantic, into the worst storm of the twentieth century, the perfect storm, as the book and film called it, to rescue a fisherman lost at sea. When his helicopter goes down, he is forced to jump into pitch blackness from an unknown height, and when he hits the water, he's going so fast it's like hitting the pavement from eighty feet above."

He is dazed and confused--just as we are when it comes to the story of our lies.

It's the perfect analogy.

Especially during those challenging, difficult and stressful seasons of life. Isn't that what often happens to us? We have no idea who we really are, why we're here (there's a diminished sense of purpose and direction), what's supposed to happen to us (what's just happened - we lose perspective on our lives, our current context, the circumstances, situations and relationships around us), or why. Honestly, there are days when we are simply alert and oriented times zero.

How so often these statements resonate with the core of our being?

If you were to evaluate your degree of spiritual consciousness, what would you be? “

Alert and oriented times _______”?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Everything is Spiritual...

We recently finished the sermon series Seamless, where we explored the dimensions of living a life that is not categorized by components that are "spiritual" and "secular," but rather seamless. Author Walter Wink, noted to live such a life is perhaps the greatest challenge of our age, primarily for those in the Western Church.

The last several weeks as I've been reading through and reflecting on Bradley Holt's book Thirsty for God: A Brief History of Christian Spirituality. As history has unfolded, it's fascinating to see how in the past several hundred years within church history, one can see these distinction becoming more and more stark, to the very imposition of the Gospel itself. This has been true particularly in the Western world. The premise of living a seamless life calls us back to a life of discovery and recognition of the sacred in the ordinary. This is the very essence of the Gospel and what our world is desperate to experience.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Surrounded...

Something amazing happens when we allow ourselves to be surround by others...

...there's an added dimension.
...there's an increase of strength.
...an expansion of vision.
...an emergence of momentum.
...and the presence of a whole lot more fun.

As we've launched The Loft and began to see the response of kids and how their engaging God and one another its been pretty riveting.

But, perhaps the most significant thing that has happened to me, is the reality of a band of co-visionaries who are investing themselves whole-heartedly into the development of a force that will shape a generation of young people.

These friends have added strength, vision and momentum. They have been initiators with grand follow-through, demonstrating the power of encouragement, faith, belief and risk. They are my heroes and my friends.

So, as in those times with I simply sit back and reflect on what is transpiring among us, I see the truth that when each person contributes what only she or he can, the image before us begins to take on a shape and function greater than we could have ever imagined by ourselves - each life, heart and hand come together with the presence of God to bring something awesome into being.

Today... I am simply grateful for the people God has surrounded me with...