There are all kinds of words that we would use to describe what “church” should be like. My favorite word is transformation, because it’s the direct result of a church based on the Kingdom of God. That transformation changes us, our families, our communities, our nations, and the world. That transformation will not be complete until Jesus comes. As a result, some give up on seeing transformation beyond personal spirituality and a walk with Jesus because it won’t be complete until he comes. This is a wrong response. The kingdom has begun; we are to move with the kingdom as it comes. It has been coming since Jesus came, it has come throughout the New Testament, the Early Church, church history, and even now. Jesus set the direction and pattern for the church in the Sermon on the Mount and his parables in what he expects of us. Paul further takes the Kingdom to new levels in Colossians 1:15-20 when he talks about glorifying God in all things, all dominions, all principalities, being transformed as a result of the Gospel of the Kingdom. We should never give up on people, cities, and nations. A church that is built upon the kingdom will see lost people come to follow Jesus – but it will not stop there. A Kingdom church will engage the person, the family, the city and nation at all levels. Read more
I was at a meeting in Doha a while back on things that are happening globally with world leaders from many domains and disciplines. It was truly an incredible meeting. It wasn’t a huge conference, a couple of hundred people and was kept small on purpose. I’ve actually come to love gatherings like this more than speaking to thousands of people. Most of the time those big gatherings are pep rallies or marketing in disguise! Smaller groups of thinkers and practitioners gathering and learning from one another is always more impactful. There were some panels in 3 or 4 main sessions then we would break into groups and ask questions, challenge each other & debate. It would get tense but it was really a lot of fun – you could pretty much share whatever you wanted – it was a safe place. I was one of only about 3 evangelicals there so man were we bombarded trying to explain all of the “nuts” in our movement. Funny how we want to define an entire group of people by a few nuts no matter what tribe! Read more
Knowledge is doubling faster than ever. I can remember 30 years ago Tom Wolfe telling a group of us that knowledge doubles every 6 years, and it was projected it would do so every four, and the latest number is that it’s now doubling every 18 months. In the past you could read where the changes were coming and plot your coarse somewhat. Now, you have to think on the run, in the moment, realizing there are variables at work driving sub-categories of culture and knowledge that impact everything the church does.
The world is changing like never before. Migration – a context for God’s greatest moves throughout history – is happening on a scale like never before because communications, the internet, and travel. All things, all people, all religions are all places, no longer held within specific national borders and tribes. Do you know how to plant a church beyond your tribe? Tribes aren’t so good at welcoming strangers. Calling it a success because we grow a big church but basically our same tribe just makes us more of a shrinking sub-culture than a transcultural movement. The early church and growing church knew how to relate to other cultures and religions – we can’t keep eating our own body and expect growth. Read more
Who could have known, 3 years ago when Northwood began focusing intentionally on becoming a multi-ethnic church that we would be facing the challenges we are today in DFW and our nation? God knew and he has been preparing us for such a moment as this.
Last night, as we all know there was a protest of all races and religions downtown Dallas to speak out for African American lives lost unnecessarily. By all accounts it was peaceful. Pictures were even taken of smiling black and white policemen standing with protesters in support. As the event was ending, snipers deliberately targeted and opened fire on policemen. As the crowd ran from the area where the shots rang out, the courageous Dallas policemen went towards the active rifle shots to protect the protesters. The aftermath saw 12 officers and 2 civilians shot leaving 5 policemen dead. Our hearts are broken over this. I sat up and wept watching on television the reports until late in the night. Read more
By: Omar Reyes
How should we engage this world that has lost its moorings? We have departed from the shores of absolute truth and find ourselves in the storms of relativism. These conditions have been at work for decades as absolute truth has been dismantled piece by piece and replaced with what seems right in everyone eyes. We are moving headlong into this squall of chaos and upheaval. What’s the answer? Is it hunkering down within our religious conclaves called church buildings and organizations? Is it sharpening our theological swords to fend off the enemies of truth? Is it to regain political power so as to make America great again? What did Jesus do in the midst of storms.
He slept in the storm. I heard a friend of mine say once “You will never have authority over a storm you can’t sleep in”
We need to stop running around scared and desperate for some quick fix solution. If we believe in the sovereignty of God and are called to be ambassadors of His kingdom, then we need to represent it though a spirit of calmness and self-control. Solomon said that the words of the wise are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that rule among fools.
He spoke with authority over the situation. God has given us spiritual authority to speak calmness into storms. Most Christians stir up more storms that they do calming them. The key is to speak truth in love; not truth with love which is selective. When we speak truth in love; love will always be the first thing people encounter before truth. They will bump into your love before your truth is heard. Let your words be life giving and not death and condemnation.
He spoke harshly to the disciples first. He questioned their faith. Judgment begins in the house of God. We must take a good look inside our temples both physical and spiritual and judge ourselves. Maybe our nation finds itself in this perfect storm because the light of world has been hidden and only used within our lighted cathedrals. Light is for darkness. Let’s stop cursing the darkness and start turning our lights on. Maybe we lost our saltiness when we decided to compromise God’s dream for this world for our American dream of luxury and convenience. Maybe we have been serving Mammon and not God.
By: Omar Reyes
Genesis 11: 6” …. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them…”
One of the most important statements made by God as it relates to human potential is find in Genesis 11 at the city of Babel. The people came together to build a name for themselves. They decided to build a city that would speak of man’s greatness as little gods and would keep them together. Then God came visiting and saw the tower and the city. He decided to intervene and stop them and the reason He stopped them reveals the potentiality of man. God said He would stop them because He had created man in His likeness and image and whatever they purposed or imagine they can accomplish. In other words, nothing will be impossible to them. Those are powerful words spoken by God himself. There were however two ingredients God points out that made this possible. Read more
The global church struggles with issues and people in the public square like we do. They don’t always get it right, but they seem to be far quicker to addressing the issues and giving grace to others than we are. They have lived in a “migrated” world far longer than we have and as a result has learned better how to maneuver. There are three hot areas that challenge us today in the U.S. that they have been dealing with longer than we have in relating to others. What can we learn from them? Read more
I have been amazed at how similar and at the same time different the conversations are between global pastors and U.S. pastors. These “little” differences I’ve come to believe, make all the difference in the world. I’ll be writing about some of them later but for now, here’s some of the shifts in they talk is what I’ve observed. We long for many of the same things, but our mindset or structures prevent us.
First, we talk a lot about church planting and church planting movements. They talk obsessively about the Kingdom of God and nations a lot. They are like Dallas Willard on steroids but not in a primarily theological sense but a practical sense. Their kingdom view and passion to see their nation and surrounding nations reached, drives all other activities as in church planting, disciple making, leadership development etc.
God has truly blessed my life in so many ways – but one of the greatest is allowing me to get to know global pastors that are movement makers. Eddy Leo, Oscar Muiri, Joseph Maisha, Joshua Vivyakumar, Sean Bau, Jossy Chacko, Terry Virgo, Dion Rober, Robert Lay, and so so many others.
These men are different from most pastors I know here in the U.S., myself included. They embody not just growth in terms of tens and hundreds of thousands if not millions – but they do it not by PR, marketing, business management – but real moves of God. They are not full of themselves, they are humble men. They are not the loud people at a pastors gathering if you didn’t know who they were you might think it’s a lucky global pastor who someone paid their way to come to an event – but you’d be very mistaken. Yet, they struggle – but not like us. Family issues, financial issues, societal issues, war, persecution, hardships that we can’t imagine. Even last week as I was hearing from leaders in Pakistan they were sad but still victorious looking for how God would use the tragedy they were all affected by. I remember one pastor once saying “You guys have great insurance and medical care” we have to learn to “call on the Lord – he’s all we’ve got”.
By: Omar Reyes
The decades of the 80’s and beyond came to be characterized by the concept of partnership and cooperative relationship by many mission organization. The realization that time was changing and that unless we forged co-working relationship with nationals we would not be effective in this new world. They were now serious players in this global environment.
Globalization had flattened the earth and we no longer had that huge competitive advantage. Simultaneously as this occurs, the need for a new framework of working together also emerged. We could not longer continue with our training mindset in which we were educated. Our adult education models that worked before were no longer effective in this environment. We had to change from a training mindset to a facilitating and learning mindset, from an external and technique-driven to a relational empowerment mindset. I am from Belize Central America and have many American missionary friends that have said to me they have been called to that country to train the nationals, raise them up to be leaders in their own countries. They say one thing but practice another. They truly desire to have partnerships, but when you act as a manager over people, you get workers and subservient people, not partners. Here are a few steps to shift the paradigm: Read more