Howler's Update

Random thoughts and ideas as I buzz in and out of various places around the world

Tuesday, April 30, 2002

I just came from the prayer room. was there from 0100 till 0230. We took over from my son Matt (19) who had been there since midnite. I went with Amaury Braga (Brasil). We prayed for God's purposes to be accomplished in this effort. We also had a special desire to pray for this city..."so many" Christians so little testimony of the love of the Lord.

The Lord gave us our first assignment here. Robert, is a young man who just got out of jail. The social worker in charge of his case was supposed to take him to a halfway house. Instead, Donna and the other leaders agreed to let him stay in the prayer room until a better place can be found for him. Some people were not sure that this was a good idea but I guess reading the book made a difference.

Monday, April 29, 2002

As a Body, we in Hope Chapel are reading Conspiracy of Kindness by Steve Sjogren. Last Sunday we had an open discussion in which the concepts of the book were considered. Several people shared their experiences as they have begun to implement the concepts. One family (Mom and Dad and two kids) brought a box of chewing gum to a park and gave it to people. When they were asked, why? they said we want to share with you God's love!

The concept is defined as "demonstrating the kindness of God by offering to do some act of humble service with no strings attached" an it is based on the fact that "people don't necessarily remember what they are told about God's love, but they never forget what they have experienced of God's love".

This week as we pray 24-7 we are asking the Father to show us what we need to do next in order to show His love to people in a city that is high on the skepticism bumper sticker I saw Saturday night said it all...Born OK...the fist time.

The kick off last night went very well. The worship was sweet, the prayers were anointed and an artist interpreted prophetically what God was saying to us in a canvas. She drew three people of different colors holding hands in front of mountains of faces that needed help...the fields are white unto harvest. Donna left at 0445 to pray...she spent the whole day at church getting things ready!

Saturday, April 27, 2002

Today we worked on the last details for our church's (Hope Chapel) prayer room. My wife Donna is doing most of the arrangements. We'll have four rooms, a garden of Gethsemane, the upper room, the cross room and the empty tomb room. They will be decorated by those who come and pray during the next 24-7.

Tomorrow is the kick off, our aim to get the eyes of our people towards the lost in their circle of gravity.

"relevant" church for postmoderns

in the current issue of "850 words of relevant," a featured article is entitled "what makes the church relevant." (i don't like to use the word relevant in association with church or worship (so don't blame me for the title, okay?). i would have used the title "authentic church for postmoderns." in any case, the article is by an x gen mother writes about her embarrassing experience of attending a church with her husband. apparently, the church thought it was being "relevant" to "young people" with its "contemporary" approach.

like many of my peers, i am also embarrassed by the things many churches do out of desperation. the sad part is, much of what is done is not even close to being culturally "relevant" to the "young people" they are trying to reach.

firstly, many xers are no longer young people, but are maturing adults, often married with children. the young people are the millennials (born in the 1980's onward). in terms of religious preferences, the millennials are showing signs of being even more conservative than xers. (conservative, meaning being drawn to things with deep and lasting substance (not being technologically or musically backward)). native postmoderns are hyper technological and wired. because of that very fact, they are in no way impressed with the mere (and often linear and cheesy) use of technology by churches.

many young people are being drawn to silence, prayer and contemplation, rather than to staged services with k-tel sounding music and shallow self improvement themed messages power-pointed onto some wall.

a good part of my inner calling to go start a church, is driven by a deep desire to provide a faith community that my non-churched (but serious minded and deeply spiritual) friends will not find laughable or a cultural embarrassment. far from being a joke, today's emerging churches have a unique opportunity to become communal venues for authentic and translucent encounters with the divine.

what most postmoderns (both young and adult) crave, is substance, meaning, authenticity and radical honesty, in their relationships with god, neighbors and world. basicaly, no bull, non-sugar coated christianity. postmoderns want desperately to be introduced to a god for whom they would be willing to die.

as a postmodern young man said in a previous relevant feature: "if you ask me, i am attracted to a church, to a ministry, that has zero bull, zero sugary-sweet christianity, and confronts the issues of the gospel head on. one characteristic of such a church would have to be a no-holds-barred approach to embracing the demands and disciplines of jesus christ. I'm tired of hearing the bold commands and uncompromising calls of the messiah swept under the rug with saccharine platitudes, and shrugged off with anything less than a painful crucifixion of my whole being. I want to serve something with my all. and I will choose either god or the world. churches are afraid to call a spade a spade. I think my generation is dying to die... to die to christ." (a comment by adrian schoonmaker of virginia beach, from the feature "church, take it or leave it," relevant magazine, march 5 2002)

read more about what makes the church relevant posted by Karen Ward | 5:49 AM

Friday, April 26, 2002

Great News

Yesterday my granddaughter Aspen returned home after being in the hospital for 4 days. She was diagnosed with meningitis but is responding very well to the antibiotics!

Today my dear mother Raquel turns 69 years old. We are having a party with her at Macarroni Grill!


Sunday, April 21, 2002

Hey everyone Ant and Caroline Clifford are the proud parents of Benjamin Jonathan see his story

Thursday, April 18, 2002

Kids Games

This week, I have been meeting with the leadership of a group which seeks to use sports to reach kids, teenagers and families.

The idea is to sponsor events to which the community is invited and in interaction with believers many come to Christ. They are also making use of all type of major events, including the Olympics as an opportunity to to share the good news.

The concept is great, however until now the process of getting those interested in the Lord to connect with His people, has been difficult.

We are meeting here in Colorado Springs with the global leadership of this movement and they want to do whatever it takes to make sure that effective connections are made.

Together with a small task force which includes leadership from India, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Cameroon, Botswana and Nigeria, we have agreed that the goal of KG should go beyond the events and move towards be the establishment of "Nurturing Communities" to which these interested people could belong.

We expect that the impact for the Kingdom will be great!

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Neroli Garett a kiwi that lives in Japan

went to Chile last month for their strategy conference. She just wrote and said...The main thing that I kept hearing from leaders was how encouraging it was that we are not alone. For people to have others to slash out issues with and build supporting relationships that can continue is highly important in establishing unity among the churches.

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

It has been awhile since I have shared with you all...Zachary our 6 year old had surgery on Monday and spent the night in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital.

Zak has a genetic condition know as Sotos Syndrome.

He needed to have his tonsils and adenoids removed plus some dental work (always under sedation) but simple things are sometimes complicated for him. He stopped breathing twice during the procedure and thus a night at the ICU. Needless to say neither him or I slept well at all.

We came home Tuesday and today he is feeling much better. He had a really good night. slept like a log. (usually is a fitful sleeper) he is real cautious using his voice and swallowing, but did tell me this morning, "Me feeling better". he's drinking a cup of juice, real slowly, right now all on his own. has been working on it for 20 minutes, but all by himself. yesterday we had to threaten him to take just one sip!

He graduated from a bath towel bib to a dish towel bib this morning too. (not drooling so much this morning)

Thursday, April 04, 2002

Last Sunday one of the gifted intercessors in our church (Hope Chapel) told me that the Lord showed her a picture of me standing by a well giving many a drink of water from it. There were many that were coming and I kept on giving them from the well. She then heard a voice that said tell him that it is ok for him to drink from it. It seems that this month while I'm home God wants to refresh me...He is so good!