In a world that thrives on conflict, offense and outrage, a few people are still fighting for peace, trust and faith.This was the case in Rabat, Morocco October 24-26, 2017. The American Peace Caravan—Faith, Trust and the Common Good brought together leaders from the Jewish, Muslim and Christian traditions to not only talk about peace but to work on peace.
Twenty cities were represented in Morocco by their religious leaders who spent the three days working on exercises and experiences designed to cultivate relationships. These relationships will be multiplied back in the United States as each city convenes ten more leaders of each faith tradition to foster conversations, understanding and common good. Meals will be shared. Congregations will come together. Friendships will be built. All for the cause of peace.
Join us for an amazing time of worship, inspiration and learning at the 2017 GlocalNet Family Gathering. If you are a part of the family, a friend of the family or just curious about what our family is all about, you are invited to come be a part of this experience.
WHEN November 8-9, 2017
WHERE NorthWood Church — 1870 Rufe Snow Drive, Keller, Texas 76248
SCHEDULEBegins at 8:30 AM Wednesday the 8th & ends at 4:30 PM Thursday the 9th
WORSHIPWe will be led in worship by a Multi-ethnic, multi-church team.
** Special Hotel Pricing at Holiday Inn Express & Suites DFW West – Hurst, Texas 820 Thousand Oaks Dr, Hurst, TX 76054 (817) 427-1818
As we prepare for our sixth trip to the West Bank in October, I’m sure some are still wondering why we would continue to invest time and resources to go work on someone else’s problems. We have plenty of problems right here in our own communities! Truth be told I fought through the same thoughts as I sat in my West Bank hotel room 37 months ago sensing God’s call to “become the help” in that part of the world Quite a few people suggested, “you should go later”, “you’re such a young church”, “you don’t even have a building.” But those thoughts were like the ones the disciples had when the woman poured the expensive oil on Jesus, washing His feet with her hair. Who are we to determine which need in the world is greater? The priority and timing as well as our time and resources are His.
I remember one person who was encouraging us to follow God. It was the same person who had brought me on the trip and introduced me to people he knew in that part of the world. In fact The Perfecting Church had a shining example of what a group of disciples could do in a hard part of the world. Northwood and my Pastor Bob Roberts had been doing this for decades. They had been and still are a key part of transforming Vietnam, among others, a place that was once totally closed to Christian efforts. However by giving their time and talents to meet unmet needs they found themselves welcome in Vietnam. Through its small, consistent, acts of service NorthWood was ultimately invited to be a part of the process of change in that part of the world. Teachers and educators from their church ultimately wrote and helped implement the curriculum for special education that’s now used throughout Vietnam.
I’ve read Acts 1:8 and even preached and taught from it many times. I’ve always seen this text as the foundation of the early church. My focus in these passages had always been the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer and the church. I had never given much thought to the charge Jesus was giving His soon to be formed church — “and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” They understood it though and from its inception the church has always been glocal (existing locally and globally). The apostles traveled to the uttermost parts of the world, preaching and living out the gospel of the Kingdom of God. My thought had always been someone else will go — that’s not my call. God’s thought for us has always been, “You go.” I’m not saying every person must go (although I can’t see why they wouldn’t) but I am saying every local church should be going. Jesus didn’t tell them when you get everything up and running go. When you get established go. When you have buildings with steeples go. It was clear that His vision for the church was for it to exist and reach beyond its local address. This changed me and it changed The Perfecting Church. My entire picture of the church, its role and function, were all based on my local experience and trying to make “our little familiar world better”. Jesus knew how weak, judgmental and limited a gathering of disciples focused only locally and on themselves would become. We’re all missionaries because this earth is not our home. Getting out of our familiar context to serve others supernaturally plants this truth deep in our hearts.
The “ends of the earth” represents “other countries”. Many of us send money abroad. We may even support a local missionary effort. Some of us may even have missionaries in our local church. But Jesus told His disciples to be the witnesses to the ends of the earth or “other countries”. I have learned personally that obeying this command develops a Kingdom mentality in the one who obeys. It brings about a new found sensitivity to the fact that Jesus loves and died for all nations. It delivers us from thinking that those of us in the USA are the “end all-be all” and everyone must think like us. Being a witness in “other countries” puts a demand on our relationship with Christ that is entirely transforming. They don’t speak the same language. They don’t think the same way. They don’t live the same way. They don’t do things the way we think they should be done. This total lack of familiarity creates the need for a child-like dependence on God that is life changing.
This idea of using our gifts, talents, time and passions to reach out beyond ourselves has become the DNA and culture of our church. What others had warned was happening too early actually saved us from it being too late. Most of our churches today get so busy constructing and sustaining internal programs they never make it out of the four-walls to actually impact their cities and the world. We learned it’s not about how many we can jam into a building, but how many we can love like Jesus.
Engaging globally has informed our work here locally. This week alone members of our church will be working with unwed mothers who need help in learning effective child care methods and in becoming self-sustaining adults; women who have suffered from depression or cared for someone who has are conducting a workshop in town with other women who are facing the same thing; our church band will be hosting the finale of its 28-week free music program, which has taught percussion, basic music theory, harmony and melody. Being the church instead of just going to church has literally begun somewhat of a movement here in our region. It’s amazing how attractive the life of Jesus becomes when we live it out beyond the Sunday gathering. We still don’t have a building! But our nearly 1,300 members and the Mayor in our neighboring town would like us to get one. He wants to make sure we don’t leave and we feel we simply need a place to plan and pray for the next time we go.
What if the key to success is failure? What if the only hope for people to believe the things that you want to share with them is in a culture of laws which are contrary to those beliefs? What if the spread of good news is best suited to a culture of contrary laws?
The fight for preservation of conservative values has raged in the legal system and political landscape for decades. Those values are largely based in Biblical foundations. Those that champion the Biblical foundations being influential in our system of laws have been losing significant ground in recent years. The moral majority is no longer a majority at all. What if that’s actually OK? Read more
When I was in the ninth grade, I played the trumpet. While I don’t think I ever played it particularly well, I played it well enough to be invited to go on a trip with the high school band to London, England. We were living in Germany at the time (my father was in the Army), but still, this was a pretty cool opportunity.
We traveled around London playing concerts for English elementary schools. Sometimes when we got done with the concert at a particular school we would hang out with the kids and play soccer. There were times that when we got done and were leaving, the children would want our autographs, as crazy as that sounds. They apparently thought us as some kind of celebrities and apparently looked up to us. Read more
We make it so unnecessarily difficult. We carry a burden which was never for us to carry and actually believe, with largely good intentions, that we are needed for things to advance. We mistaken our skills as abilities we have developed as opposed to gifts we have received and then are proud to offer these gifts to the Gift-giver as if we have something original to offer. It’s a cycle of narcissism fueled in pride that creates unnecessary disappointments and allows for unwarranted credit.
The Kingdom of God will advance in the timing and planning of God. He’s got this. The Kingdom doesn’t need a single one of us, yet the King chooses to include us. The purpose He provides us in the inclusion of His Kingdom is life-giving. It’s a pleasure to serve the King. Read more
Here, now and forever starts right where you are. You don’t have to get hired, promoted, educated or ordained in any special way to fulfill the purpose of your design. There is an opportunity beyond consumption and a calling which exceeds mere attendance. The call is one into action and the action is to take place wherever you go.
Society is not church and church is not society. Society exists of domains that we are all familiar with even if we don’t consider them or our place as a part of them. Domains are made of functions such as government, art, medical, business, education and others. We all participate in the domains of society either as professionals or participants. Most of us function in the domains of society much more frequently than we do in a church. Read more
Whether we like it or not, the world is changing as is our nation. We are not the same and the world sees us differently. Our opinion is just an opinion and our will doesn’t necessarily have any weight in the integration of the global community. Certainly, from a perspective of faith and culture, our “Christian nation” status is tenuous, at best. While most would still label themselves “Christian” generally, if we were to drill down to explore where people stand on basic tenants of that faith, the number of true believers fades significantly. The number of those that actually make decisions and live life in accordance with those tenants is even fewer.
The days of counting on the government, media, and even majority opinion to line up with our passions regarding Eternal things are apparently over. We don’t enjoy the predictability of a common faith, however loosely it is applied in various venues. Perhaps the consistency of knowing that these beliefs are no longer deemed valid or even respectable will lead us into a place of greater relevance. Read more
Honor is the missing ingredient if there is any hope for relevance. By relevance, I mean the opportunity to influence the outcome through valid relationships. Without honor, there is little hope to even be invited to the table.
It is imperative that we restore the value of honor in our interactions both within the church as well as in relationships which extend beyond our faith-based communities. We have to implement the eternal value of honor in our temporal choices to bridge the gap between heaven and earth. We have to seek to understand the authority, submission and honor of the Kingdom if we want to walk as ambassadors of that Kingdom. Read more
It really would be easier on a personal level to keep approaching things the way that we always have. It would certainly be mentally easier to just rest in the same perspectives formed and fostered by a white male majority and count everything and everybody else as wrong. The problem with that approach is that those perspectives are no longer majority nor are they necessarily right then or now. To choose to squeeze tighter to my familiar perspectives likely leads to my views becoming obsolete. Read more