Archives For Mission

(Guest post by Julie McMullen)

temptation-of-jesus-in-the-desert

We are officially beginning the season of Lent.  At Storyline we join together through daily prayer as a community.  Each week we will have a different leader & some topics we don’t want to miss praying about.  To go along with our times of prayer we will post a weekly theme on the Storyline blog to encourage our prayers. This week’s theme is Preparation.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Read Luke 3:21-22; 4:1-15

Jesus is baptized and immediately goes to the wilderness, fasting for 40 days and 40 nights.  He was led by the Spirit. Luke 4:1 says “he was tempted for 40 days.”  Let’s just think about this for a minute – a desert (which means heat without relief, or maybe scorching days & cold nights), NO FOOD, and frequent meetups with the devil tempting him with desirable things.  This seems like a cruel thing for God & the Spirit to do to Jesus.  The Bible doesn’t include any of his conversations he had with God during that desert time, but we can draw conclusions on the importance of what happened here based on how Jesus responded to Satan & what he was like after this experience.  The tempter comes at him with temptation that includes a hook or a nugget of truth in each one…but Jesus doesn’t take the bait, he responds with a focused answer, with what is really true.  He does not waiver.

After the temptation, Luke 4:14-15 says, “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.  He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.” In the desert, Jesus had removed himself from distractions, given God time and himself.  And God did something…God filled him up & prepared him.  He was “in the power of the Spirit.” He went on to call the disciples, teach, preach the good news of the kingdom, heal every disease and sickness among the people.  I’m in awe of Jesus and this mysterious Spirit.  And I have to say that even though I’m slightly terrified of it, I want this.  I want to live IN THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT, to walk in his confidence, his authority, his freedom, his plan & his love.  I want this kind of life for Storyline, I want this kind of life for all believers, I want this kind of life for all people in God’s creation. And I think the first step is joining Jesus in the desert, giving up distracting things; even giving up some essentials to make space for God, to make space for the Spirit.

So we prepare, we not only make room, but say we want nothing else to fill that space but God.  Father, lead us by your Spirit.  May the Spirit open us up to you in a way that hasn’t happened before.  Prepare us Father.  Those things that we are holding onto for dear life, give us courage to let go, to give them to you,

Questions for thought & prayer…

  • What is cluttering your calendar, life, or mind?
  • What are you holding onto tightly?
  • What will you let go of during this season of Lent?

Lunch with a Black Pastor

Charles Kiser —  September 1, 2016 — 9 Comments

Every once in a while I become acutely aware that I am in sacred space. The ancient Celts called it “thin space” — where God’s world and our world come into contact and even merge.

My recent lunch meeting was one of those times.

I had the opportunity to share a meal with a friend who is a Black Christian pastor. I was most eager to talk with him about his perspective on recent events in our nation: the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philandro Castille, Black Lives Matter, and the shooting of five police officers in Dallas.

The truth is that I have long observed from the sidelines. I haven’t engaged the conversation because it hasn’t been urgent — because I haven’t been subjected to oppression. But it’s time to engage. I have so much to learn, so much to become aware of, so much growing to do.

The question that’s been rumbling deep in my soul the past couple months is: how do we — the church in Dallas, in all its diversity — enact the gospel of King Jesus?

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Listening

Mack was a tall man – really tall. He had a deep echoing voice…Darth Vader material. And he was opinionated. The combination of these qualities made him quite intimidating, but they also helped me listen to him. Mack told me that he had been a successful businessman for several years but his heart wasn’t in it. His real passion was kids. So he quit his job and started working as a school administrator. What I won’t forget is what he said next. “Charles, don’t choose a job for the money. Do something that you love and the money will sort itself out.”

Do something that you love. That’s the stuff of calling. That’s what the word “vocation” actually means — hearing a call to do something you were meant to do. It’s not limited to what you get paid to do, though the two can overlap in different ways. Sometimes a paying job supports a broader calling beyond the job. Sometimes we get paid to pursue our calling. Sometimes it’s a combination of both over time.

For disciples of Jesus, regardless of compensation, calling always relates in some way with the mission of God to make all things new in the world that have been ruined by the reign of sin and death.

So how do you find your calling? Consider these three actions that I have found helpful in discovering mine.

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Vancouver, B.C.

[This is a guest post from Paul McMullen, a new co-worker in the Storyline Community. Paul is a pastor with a missionary’s heart.]

Over a year ago, my family visited a Storyline worship gathering at the beginning of a three-month period of travel and discernment. We’d left our belongings in a 10X15 storage unit sitting a few hundred feet off of Vancouver Harbour. That harbour sits in the shadows of the North Vancouver mountains. As we pulled into the parking lot where Storyline met that Sunday, it was hard not to notice the contrasts between our previous home and our new setting. No mountains in Dallas, for one. No one saying, “Eh,” but plenty of “y’alls!” Returning to the south, part of me felt back home and part of me felt completely disoriented.

We learned at least three lessons in our transition from Vancouver to Dallas.

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I’d like to flesh out this dream we’re pursuing in Storyline to become a “red hot center of mission.”

The inspiration for the metaphor comes from a series of posts written by Mike Breen on missional communities, where he explores the red hot center of the early church, the three elements of a red hot center, and what happens when “torches” of red hot centers gather together and make a “bonfire”.

flywheel

This is a powerful metaphor and a great vision for the church in North America, especially in a time when the fire of mission sometimes seems to have burned down to embers.

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