I Never Thought I Would Say This…

I never thought I would say this…but we are saying goodbye to Austin, Texas…and hello to Temple, Texas… in two weeks.

It has been a good kind of crazy 6 years for us here in Austin.

Melissa, Jessica, Ava, and I moved here to help start Austin City Life and have seen some amazing things happen in our lives and in the lives of our friends.

We have had the privilege of helping start a non-profit called Music For The City.

We have gotten to know tons of great Austinites and neighbors (that’s what happens when you live in 4 houses in 6 years).

We have made some life-long friends with some of our favorite people in the world.

And although we arrived in town a family of 4, we leave a family of 6 after bringing Betsy Grace and Mary Jones into this hot mess called The Navarro family.

Our last Sunday at Austin City Life will be November 25th, then we will be loading the U-Haul, heading to Temple, and beginning the next chapter in our journey.

We are very grateful for our 6 years in Austin.

We are very excited about what is next.

 

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

 

 


5 Books Every Christian Should Read

1 The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning

Nobody articulates the love of God for broken people more clearly than Brennan Manning.

2 Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividjian

The title says it all. And I have no idea how to pronounce the authors name.

3 Total Church by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis

What is the church anyway?

4 Everyday Church by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis

What does it really look like to live on mission everyday?

5 Ministries of Mercy by Tim Keller

Keller is the best I have ever heard teaching the story of the Good Samaritan and what it means to “love your neighbor”.


7 Worship Tunes (for running Town Lake)

Last night I was telling a friend that one of the things that stirs my affections for Christ, puts things in perspective, and reminds me that God loves me, is a good 3-4 mile run around Town Lake with some good worship music in my ears.

She said “Help me! I can never find any good worship music!”

So for her and the rest of you that want some good, soul-stirring music to run to, here are 7 tunes that do it for me, enjoy!

In Your Name (Miranda Dodson) “oh that this city would know your love”

Let Your Kingdom Come (Aaron Ivey) “let the sick run free, the orphan find her home””

How He Loves Us (John Mark McMillan) “if grace is an ocean we’re all sinking”

To Know Your Name (Hillsong) “your grace has overwhelmed my brokeness”

Forever Reign (Hillsong) “the riches of your love will always be enough”

Hosanna (Hillsong) “show me how to love like you have loved me”

One Thing Remains (Bethel) “your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me”

What am I missing? What are your favorites?


3 Things “To Do” When Leading A Missional Community

In an earlier post I wrote about what “not to do” when leading a missional community. Read that HERE.

On a more positive note here are 3 things “to do”:

1 GET CLARITY ON “MISSIONAL”

I know this seems obvious, but it is very hard to lead others in missional living if you don’t have much clarity on it yourself. When some people say “missional” they are thinking “social justice activity” while others think “evangelism” (and the list goes on and on). The bottom line is you have no idea what people are really hearing when you say “missional”, so get some clarity for yourself before you go….

2 LIVE IT YOURSELF

This is the most basic of leadership principles, and we all know it. If you want the people in your community to love their neighbors, you might want to start loving yours. If you want your community to show mercy to the poor, begin to love the poor yourself. If you want your community to share the Gospel with non Christians, get to know, love, and speak the Gospel to some of the non Christians in your life.

3 EQUIP THE SAINTS

If you want the people in your community to live on mission, most of them are going to need some tools. The theory of art doesn’t make a great painting, you need a canvas, paint, and a brush. The theory of music doesn’t make a hit song, you need melody, instruments, and somebody that can sing. In the same way the theory of missional living doesn’t create everyday mission, people need help, people need tools.

Hope this helps…

What did I miss? What else are we “to do” when leading missional communities?


4 Signs That You Are Part Of A “Missional Community”

In all of the “missional community” talk it can be good to pause from time to time and ask some questions:

Am I really a part of a missional community?

Is “missional community” just a new name for “small group”?

What is our mission anyway?

Here are 4 signs that you are part of a missional community. (which I define as a community of people who, by Gods grace, are devoted to Jesus, one another, and their neighbors.)

1 THERE ARE RECKLESS SINNERS AT THE DINNER TABLE

If everybody in your “missional community” has read Total Church, knows who Tim Keller is, and “gets” the Gospel, you may need to re-think your mission. Devotion to Jesus will lead us to a place where we actually know, love, and share meals, life, and truth  with people who don’t know Jesus and his life-changing grace. (for the record Christians are still sinners too…sometimes less reckless…sometimes more….we all need grace)

2 YOU ARE PEOPLE OF MERCY

There is a problem in all of our talk of “loving the poor”, the problem of just talking about it. There is more to loving the poor than reading blogs, tweeting, and talking. Devotion to Jesus will lead us to a place where we actually serve, sacrifice, and show mercy to the poor and hurting  among us.

3 YOU LOVE EACH OTHER

I know that sounds simple (it’s not). If there is not a genuine love and commitment to the other members of this missional community, I am not sure how effective the mission is going to be. Does your missional community pray, eat, laugh, and even cry together? Devotion to Jesus will lead us to a place where we are devoted to one another.

4 PEOPLE ARE GETTING BAPTIZED

Are people who didn’t know Jesus and his life changing grace coming to know that Jesus Christ is Lord? Are people who have spent their whole lives looking for acceptance in work, relationships, religion, success, pleasure, and money finding forgiveness and new life in the gospel of grace?

Help me: are there are other signs of missional community that I am overlooking?

Hope this helps….


Why I Don’t Love The Phrase “Hate the Sin…Love The Sinner”

Have you ever heard somebody say “hate the sin….but love the sinner!.” Me too. I don’t love it.

Now I know that in one sense it rings true: we should hate sin because it is destructive, and we should love sinners because they are people (people who God calls our neighbors and commands us to love).

I guess what I don’t love is the tone.

You may be saying “hate the sin…love the sinner”….

But your tone tells me what you are really saying is “I am disgusted by the choices so and so makes…I wish they could see how much better their life would be if they were more like me….but I guess I am supposed to love them…I mean you never know….God may change their wicked hearts someday…and we may end up in the same Bible Study….so yes….hate the sin…but love the sinner.”

Here are three faults I find in this oh so common cliche:

1 It Creates An “Us vs Them” Mentality (Christian vs Non-Christian)

I usually hear this phrase from a Christian, talking about a non-Christian, and it seems to imply that Christians are no longer sinners. Say what?

Let’s be honest…we are all a mess…and we all have sin.

Now some of us sinners happen to be under grace (those that know Jesus), and other sinners are not (those that don’t know Jesus)…..but we are all in this “sinner” thing together.

2 Christians Don’t “Hate” Their Own Sin As Much As Their Neighbors

Again, I usually hear this this phrase coming from a Christian, talking about a non-Christian, and they are offended by the “sinners” lifestyle (which may include things like 12-14 too many beers on a Saturday night, bad sexual choices, and/or the vocabulary of a deep sea fisherman).

In hating the sin we see in the people around us, many of us miss the ways in which we sin everyday: greed, gossip, selfishness, unbelief, etc (just to name a few)

It’s all sin. It’s all destructive.

Your sin is not any prettier than your neighbors.

3 Show Me The Love!

All of us sinners need love! I do, you do, and so does your neighbor.

Show me the love!

When is the last time you really loved a sinner? Love may look like sharing a meal, starting a friendship, meeting some practical needs, and being open with the sinners in your life about how much of a sinner you are.

If you are not spending time with anybody that does not know Jesus please stop saying you love sinners.

If you do happen to know some sinners that don’t know grace…you may want to mention that you know the only one who really hates sin…and the only one who really loves sinners.

That would be loving.


My Wife on “Grace”

This is my wife Melissa. She has a few honest thoughts on grace HERE at DREAMINGBIGDREAMS.

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