Thursday, March 30, 2006

Wellspring Path

Hi Wellspring Family!

Wow, what a week this has been. Work has been keeping me very busy, but I’ve caught up so much I’m afraid there is bound to be an overdose of free time this weekend. So, I have asked some friends for ideas of what to do and if the weather holds out ok I’ll be heading for a nice hike in the mountains.

The church group that I met last Sunday was really nice. There were just a few people, younger couples mostly and about 6 toddlers running around. It was amazing to see so many kids all running around. I knew a few of the songs, which was nice, and the message was on prayer which is always good to refresh about. After service the group goes to lunch, I passed last week, but I will join them this week. Then on Tuesdays the ladies get together for coffee and that was a great opportunity to get to know each other better. So, all in all, I’m glad I found the group. They are friendly and welcoming. Their basic premise is similar to ours in that church isn’t about a building, it’s about building a community.

One thing I was reminded of again through this is how unique Wellspring is. I know Ken says it a lot – but you know, he says so much sometimes I don’t pay attention – Just Kidding! Sorry, had to take a minute to remind Ken how much I love and miss him :-) But where I was going was how much I love our diversity at Wellspring. We have people from so many different backgrounds and experiences and I love to hear what Mark and Don bring to our conversations because they have such a different perspective than I do. I love to listen to Pat and Karen with their views as single women making their way in the world. I admire Lita and Gary for breaking away from their strict up-bringing and reaching out to something new. The music that we are blessed with from John and Kevin and Don is so inspiring in and of itself – it is so heartfelt and passionate. And the way that everyone participates and gets involved – what a treasure we have. I think about going to Deana’s father’s funeral last year and just being there for that few hours, somehow I felt closer to her and her whole family and it’s like we have a bond now that just grows each time I get to hold Karis :-) And then there is the whole aspect of family and friends. It started with Deana who invited Carrie who invited Julie and me and now we’ve invited Dana and Wiley and it’s like our family grows from the inside out. And that is it, we are a family. Not twins, not all the same, sometimes we love each other and sometimes we may get on each other’s nerves, but we are there for one another. And in the end, isn’t that what the church should be?

i've finally done it

i gave in...i've started blogging.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

It's not Wellspring, BUT...

HI Gang,

Just wanted to let everyone know that since I didn't lose 2 days this week traveling, I actually have a weekend free! Well, not free since I do have homework - but I'm not working - yippee! So, what does that mean, it means I had time to go online and find this church...

http://www.experiencepathway.com/index.htm

I'll head over there tomorrow to see what it's about. I find it interesting that for us "connecting time" is when we connect with God and for them it is when they connect with each other. Funny.

So, I'll let you know if it's a cult :-) Whatever it is, it can't replace you guys, but hopefully it can help me keep my connection with God strong during this trying time.

And you know, I was thinking... has anyone sent a meal over to Bill and Gayle lately? I really miss them and I hope we are staying connected. They are such amazing people. Of course, I haven't done very well at that myself. Well, maybe since I have some time tomorrow I can make a few cards and send them one. Anyway, if anyone talks to them, send my love please.

Well, I suppose that's all. I'll get back to watching Star Trek. I'm such a geek. Oh well, God loves us - geek and all!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Perspective

My friend "e" has offered some interesting Lent perspectives on her blog. I asked if I could share them with you guys and she said yes. Find one here and the other here. I also found this on a website offered by a community (small group of about 12 in London)that really pushes the worship envelope! This entry offers an interesting perspective that ties in with what Ken's been presenting lately to us. Go here and see a really cool slide show that I wish we could use at Wellspring but I can't figure out how to load!!

Posted by Steve Paynter on Mon 20 Mar 2006 - link

If you have food in the fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world.
If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish somewhere, you are among the top 8% of the worlds wealthy.
If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.
If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death you more blessed than million's of people in the world.
If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful, you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

We are hugely blessed.
We need to remember it and keep our lives in perspective and our hearts open to God.
Jesus too has something to say about who are the truly blessed. Matt.5.
They are those who know their need of God.
Those who mourn for what is not right in them and in our world.
Those who are teachable, and hunger and thirst for a better justice and righteousness.
Those who leave behind a preoccupation with self and look outward beyond themsleves to see God at work in our world and its trouble.
To see the beauty, mercy and grace of God in the unexpected places of life and follow Jesus there.

Our lenten response (fast) could be as follows:

Fast from discontent.
Feast on gratitude.

Fast from worry.
Feast on God's providence.

Fast from complaining.
Feast on appreciation.

Fast from unrelenting pressure.
Feast on unceasing prayer.

Fast from self concern.
Feast on compassion for others.

Fast from personal anxiety.
Feast on eternal truth.

Fast from discouragement.
Feast on hope.

Fast from endless noise.
Feast on purposeful silence.

Fast from problems that overwhelm.
Feast on prayer that sustains.

Which one of these is for you? Or write your own.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

California Dreamin'

Hello everyone, just checking in from California. It has been a crazy first week for me here. Aside from having to leave a day earlier than planned and take a side trip to Washington, I have been non-stop since my arrival. There is just so much going on, I haven’t taken the time to do any sight seeing or anything. Of course, I did drink too much on St. Patrick’s day and then slept pretty much all of Saturday – so I can only blame myself for my lack of adventures.

I seem to be catching up on the work finally. Not having to get on a plane this week really did help me to stay on top of things, so I am really glad I’m not making the back and forth trip for once. Of course, I miss you all greatly, but I am happy to have the time to think while I am out here. I seem to have had a lot in my head lately about my spirituality and my marriage and my career and last night, for the first time in a while, I really had a good chunk of time to just sit down and pray about it. It’s amazing how helpful that can be.

Of course, I have no answers, just more questions. But I do have calm and peace and love and that feels pretty good.

I had to get a new cell phone since I killed my old one, Jules has the number if anyone want’s to give me a call. I feel so high-tech, I even got a Bluetooth headset so I can talk hands free while I’m driving – I spend a lot of time on con-calls while I’m driving up to San Francisco. For this weekend I’ll probably spend most of Saturday studying and working on my research paper, but I’m hoping it will be nice on Sunday and I can find a mountain to hike.

Have a great week. I’m sorry I’ll miss our discussion tonight and our service on Sunday. I’ll be home soon!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A New Kind of Christian - Chapter 16

I want to work with everyone we can find who wants to pioneer what it means to be a new kind of Christian in a new kind of church in the uncharted terra nova that lies ahead of us. There are so few working at this exploration of faith into postmodern territory, and all of those who are, are exhausted because it is so difficult. I think God’s heart must be pained because so few are exploring beyond the edges of our modern maps and at how exhausted those few are.
In my mind the ideal seminary would be one part monastery, one part mission agency, and one part seminar. Here’s what I mean.
By monastery, I would want the seminarians to live in community of some sort, to experience a real sharing of life and of “the offices” of shared spiritual practices. It strikes me that a retreat is like a short-term monastic experience. It’s intense – and intensity is an undervalued key to spiritual growth – and it’s holistic: it’s not a matter of just adding some Bible onto a busy, fragmented life.
The mission agency part is closely related. In my mind, while modern Christianity was fixated on systematic theology, the erection of a conceptual cathedral that would comprehend all truth, so postmodern Christianity will focus on mission, on our role as agents of God’s kingdom. This would mean internships in churched, soup kitchens, youth center, refugee camps, church-planting projects, etc. My seminarians would be sent out on several missionary journeys during their apprenticeship.
The seminar part would be different form a traditional school, which assumes that people learn best by listening. My students would read or experience something and then they would discuss it with their fellow learners, with the teacher present. We wouldn’t stop with information transmission, of course; that would only be the beginning. More important would be integrating that information into our understanding of the story. By story, I mean the story of God’s work in the universe and in particular, the story of God’s work in the human community.
Ultimately this transition into the post-modern world is not about changes in musical style, preaching style, liturgy, or architecture, although all of those things may change. At heart, it’s about attitude, theology, and spirituality. Maybe that’s why the traditional-to-contemporary change was so disruptive – too often we tried to change exteriors without changing our attitudes, theologies, and spirituality.
I think you could be an architect of a new kind of faith community. I firmly believe that the top question of the new century and new millennium is not just whether Christianity is rational, credible, and essentially true, but whether it can be powerful, redemptive, authentic, and good, whether it can change lives, demonstrate reconciliation and community, serve as a catalyst for the kingdom, and lead to a desirable future.
In my thinking, church doesn’t exist for the benefit of its members. It exists to equip its members for the benefit of the world. To do that, it is about three things: community, spirituality, and mission.
Community means that we create a place of belonging where people can learn to believe the good news belong to a community that is learning to live it, and become together a living example of it. We accept anyone whom Christ accepts.
Spirituality focuses on the holy part. But it is not just about individual spirituality. The spirituality itself is communal. What we experience with God in secret must be brought to the community and shared like a common meal.
In my thinking, both spirituality and community flow into mission. We are sent not to be served but to serve, and we are sent not to the healthy but to the sick. The church doesn’t exist to satisfy the consumer demands of believers; the church exists to equip and mobilize men and women for God’s mission in the world.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A note from Lita

Dear Ken

Friday afternoon my father passed away. He had been sick in the hospital with pneumonia. However when I spoke with my mother Friday morning my father seemed to be doing better. The tube in his throat had been removed because his lungs were clearer, but his kidneys were not working. They were going to start him on dialysis Friday. My mother signed the papers and talked about my father coming home in a few days. That afternoon while she was visiting him he coded. He did not want to be kept alive by machines so my mother told them to let him go. Even though we believe dad is absent from the body and present with the Lord it still hurts. Please pray for my mother. She has taken care of my dad and done everything for him for 28 years. I'm not sure she understands how much of a void there will now be.( My father had lost both his arms 28 years ago.) Thanking you in advance for your prayers and so thankful for our Great God!

Lita

Leaning Into Community Space

Juli is right. We've neglected our space here . . . wait, I should own my own stuff. I've neglected this space. But no more!

I recently closed down my own blog because it had become a bit too "all over the place" and wasn't as much fun. However, I don't want to lose the outlet completely because that blog allowed me to share some interesting findings on the church in general. So, if you guys don't mind and think you might enjoy it, I thought I'd post cool things I find about the emerging ways of doing church right here on our very own Wellspring space!

Today I'm passing along a prayer request . . . and maybe a call to action? Shannon (our partner in London) shared this with me. Some of you know that she's part of an advocacy group trying to stop human trafficking. When I told her Kevin wanted to know about her sports interests she admitted that she hadn't learned the rules of London's football. Then she told me about the following. Don't know if you'll be shocked or just shake your head in that kind of knowing way we all do when there's little left to surprise us about how far humanity will go!

For the articl, click here.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Where is everyone?

Just kidding! I've been pretty absent too and I apologize for that. Now that Jean is gone for the next couple months I figure we all need to get going on this thing again! I'm hoping to start posting on my own page pretty soon too! I miss you guys!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A New Kind of Christian - Chapter 13

Neo said that if he ever went back into the pastorate he would lose all his inhibitions about talking about money because he felt that generosity was one of the most important spiritual disciplines and that greed was one of the soul’s worst poisons.
He said that if the new kind of Christianity we had been dreaming about wasn’t radically generous, it was a waste of time. He said that we live in the most affluent culture in the most affluent period of human history. If we can’t discipline ourselves to learn the joys of generous living, we are an embarrassment to the gospel. The “Caesar” of our day is our economy of consumption, greed, and materialism.
Spiritual Formation: Postmodern is post-Protestant, I think that our forms of spirituality and spiritual formation will be more like the ancient and medieval church and less like the modern church. I think we will welcome back tradition and saints and liturgy and holy days.
How can we keep prayer and Bible reading as key to our spiritual lives without turning spirituality into spiritual techniques, duties, and legalisms- still more to feel guilty about? I feel that most preachers don’t preach good news about grace; they preach bad news about inadequacy and pressure.
How do we develop a more holistic, balanced spirituality in people without a boatload of guilt?
1. Future approaches to spiritual formation will be more akin to ancient ones. There will be more short-term monastic experiences. People will be together in simplicity and in community and practice spiritual disciplines together like prayer, Bible study, and solitude. Retreats are an example of this.
2. Short-term mission trips are modern examples of the missionary journeys of Paul or of the Celtic monks. In a way they are like pilgrimages – journeys undertaken for a spiritual purpose.
3. What are small groups and one-on-one mentoring relationships but echoes of ancient training method, before we slipped into the modern misconception that the best education takes place in sterile classrooms? Small groups and mentoring – filled with give-and-take, personal as well as intellectual interaction, formation as well as information – recall the old images of the apprentice training with his master or the disciples following Jesus.
4. What is getting people involved in ministry – but an echo of the many biblical stories where God taught people to swim by throwing them into the deep end? I think of Moses, feeling so inadequate, or even the disciples being sent out two by two, after only several months of training, to learn by success and failure the lessons that can only be learned by doing, not just listening or studying.
So my guess is that teachers of the future will spend less time giving out information and more time helping students learn how to find what they need when they need it.
I want to mention on other area of spirituality that I think we must rediscover: creation spirituality. Modern men and women have lost their connection with creation. If I could live another life, I think I would devote it to ecology, because I also believe that this is a truly spiritual and Christian work. Genesis begins with our mandate to take care of God’s creation, and never has our failure to do so been more acute than now. Learning to live as caretakers of creation and friends to our fellow creatures must be at the core of a new kind of Christianity.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Wellspring group meeting

We will not be having our group meeting tonight. See you Sunday.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Lessons from the West Coast

Have you ever noticed how other peoples experiences can lift you as if they were your own?

We've recieved a few letters that discribe the worship service at the MCRD in San Diego and to hear it is so incouraging. "You can't imagine what it sounds like when 300 recruits are worshipping and praising God unashamed." "It is an awesome sight" These are just a couple of things said about it. It was encouraging to hear that . But I have to share the most exciting thing out of the west and I know I won't tell it right so I'm going to quote from a letter we recieved from our recruit. (As many of you know he has had pnuemonia and was in MRP.)

"Oh, yesterday Senior Drill Instructor Sgt. ------- came in and pulled just a few of us aside and he talked about Christians and Christianity. He isn't supposed to (he could lose his job) but he said he felt God calling him to do it.
He talked about how christianity is supposed to be and how most Christians don't see it but religion is destroying the christian body. No matter what religion we should be challenging each other. 'How is your walk with God?' and 'What did you learn today?' That should be what Christians ask each other daily. 2 Corinthians 13:5-9
He also talked about praying. I don't remember what verse he used but it basically said 'Pray with your mouth. Confess your sins to God out loud. You have no reason to be embarrassed.'
It was a good talk. I told Ashley it's a good thing I got dropped because my relationship with God has strenthened."

He goes on to talk about all he has learned while in MRP and how it wasn't the waste of time he expected it to be.
Anyways it was a major lift for these parents of the recruit and a challenge. That we as Followers of Jesus should continually be challenging ourselves as well as our fellow believers to be growing and asking questions like "How is my walk with Christ?" and "What did I learn Today" Okay?

All of this was to say share your experiences with others. You never know when there might be someone who needs to hear your story.

By the way My recruit got RTFD and passed the PFT and is picking up with "Mighty Mike".