Cultivating Daily for Unity: here’s an awesome story of one local church putting the needs of another local church above their own.

It was their first Sunday for a public worship gathering. This new church start had been preparing for this day for some time, already having walked together and grown together and served together during what most call a “core group” phase. But this Sunday they would start a weekly Sunday gathering for the people of the community they had been already loving.

One of their goals was to be a new local church that helped to start other new local churches. But for most leaders, that day will come. It’s not something you do in your first year, right? It’s not something you do at your first Sunday gathering, right? Not when you have so many needs yourself, right? Well, not unless you value generosity toward and unity around mission with other local church families.

Only if you believe that “put the interests of others above your own” stuff applies to the 2nd person plural “you,” too.

And it does. It’s the only way for we as His church to actually be the church that He intended and prayed for in John 17:18-23.

“As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. I sanctify Myself for them, so they also may be sanctified by the truth. I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in Me through their message. May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me. I have given them the glory You have given Me. May they be one as We are one. I am in them and You are in Me. May they be made completely one, so the world may know You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me.” (John 17:18-23 HCSB)

On that first Sunday, an offering was collected, as does happen in many Sunday gatherings around the world. But on that first Sunday, this new church start did not keep a penny of it.

Visiting with them was another leader whose family and a few friends would be cultivating for another new local church expression not too far away. And without having told him it was going to happen before, the offering collected on that first Sunday was given in totality to the visiting leader of another local church family in order to help their ministry begin.

And that’s love – caring more about what someone else is becoming than what you are becoming. That’s love – being willing to give everything you have denying yourself to help someone else.

And that kind of love among local churches is what cultivates for unity in a community, is what becomes an answer to Jesus’ prayer, is what ushers in the work of God in a city.

The near love of Jesus on display, that the world might believe in the One who was sent.

May we go and do the same.
-jason

Cultivating Daily into Family: Parents, how do you respond when your kids make mistakes? Check out #MichaelJordan’s perspective followed by some personal thots, too…

20120123-140938.jpg

Even though I am a Duke fan and have always been a Duke fan, I grew up cheering for Michael Jordan. The first Final Four game I saw on TV was the 1982 championship that took place in my home town New Orleans between Georgetown and North Carolina. As a young freshman, Jordan hit the go ahead shot in the final minute and was a key player in the TarHeel championship run that season.

Jordan went on to mega-stardom as a Chicago Bull in the NBA, winning 6 NBA Titles and catapulting the league into international influence, also paving the way for athletes to enjoy big-money endorsements and product lines beyond their own sports. Jordan definitely is considered a significant success as a basketball player and a business man.

If this is the case, then why is one of his most famous and powerful commercials about failure? See for yourself:

What a great perspective on mistakes and failure. My wife and I as parents grapple with this question all the time as we cultivate into our kids. Do you have such an understanding in dealing with the mistakes of your children as you cultivate daily into their lives?

Consider these thoughts that we ourselves are trying to learn and practice grow in more and more daily:

:: Let the prevailing culture of your family for which you cultivate consistently be one of love first rather than condemnation first (John 3:16-17).

:: Encourage humility and confession rather than just feelings of humiliation and a consequence given. (1st John 1:9)

:: When confronting and conversing about a mistake, don’t let a child’s first response be, “But he…” or “She did this…” Remind them that this conversation is about what they can learn rather than how they can blame. (Genesis 3)

:: When there is a relational issue among siblings and humility and contriteness have been quickly displayed, let the consequence be confession to one another and prayer for help the next time. (Matthew 18:15-20)

:: Encourage the joy that comes from having to be dependent upon a Savior and Restorer rather than the guilt that remains when we keep thinking we have to fix ourselves (Psalm 32).

:: Teach each child how to deal with the temptations that come in an assertive but reliant way – take each temptation thought captive then try not to deal with it alone. Rather, drag it to Jesus, surrender to Him, and ask Him for His ways to prevail rather than my own. (2nd Corinthians 10:3-5)

May we all grow in cultivating in our families for a culture that views mistakes as opportunities for maturing rather than signs of immaturity. And may we all grow in wisdom as we cultivate for culture of grace and love in our families.

For all those Jordan fans out there, maybe this is just one more way to “Be Like Mike.” :) Enjoy that classic commercial below…

Cultivating Daily for Unity: do you ever pray in worship gathering for the ministries & ldrs of other local churches?

Jesus prayed for the unity of His church together in John 17:18-23. Ever since, for the most part, we have ignored His prayer for us together and instead prayed for personal awakening and revival. It might be that awakening and revival would come if we prayed earnestly and cultivated intentionally for unity among the followers of Jesus in our communities.

Here’s one very simple way to do that:

PRAY FOR THE MINISTRIES AND LEADERS OF OTHER LOCAL CHURCH EXPRESSIONS IN YOUR COMMUNITY DURING SUNDAY WORSHIP GATHERINGS.

Do it every week. Highlight the leaders and a few things those ministries are up to. Even encourage the families who make up the church family of which you are a part to engage in those activities, to serve those ministries and leaders. And make sure every time you do this in worship gathering that you mention why you are doing it. And why might that be?

…for the sake of cultivating for unity among the followers of Jesus in the city where we live so that the work of God might come about (or even awakening or revival) in the city where we live.

Maybe even go one step further. Call or email or have coffee with the leaders of the local church expression for whom you prayed and ask them how you can serve them. Putting the interests of other local churches above your own might actually make the local church family of which you are a part stronger. It might actually make you all stronger. It might actually be what Jesus intended.

May we cultivate daily for unity.
-jason

PS _ this Saturday night, “unite” with me to cheer for the New Orleans Saints. Here’s their playoff preview video :)

Cultivating Daily in the Marketplace: “30 Simple Ways to Be Missional in Your Workplace” from @JoshReeves & @VergeNetwork…

Wanted to share these great suggestions from Josh Reeves and the Verge Network about living sent in the marketplace. Hope they will encourage you as you cultivate daily the love of the near Jesus in your workplace.

———————————

Many times it’s difficult to find practical ways to be a blessing in your workplace. Rapid pace, mounting deadlines, or co-worker conflict can often derail even the best of intentions to say and show the love of Jesus at work.

Recently, Josh Reeves posted some very practical ideas for blessing others in the workplace:

1. Instead of eating lunch alone, intentionally eat with other co-workers and learn their story.

2. Get to work early so you can spend some time praying for your co-workers and the day ahead.

3. Make it a daily priority to speak or write encouragement when someone does good work.

4. Bring extra snacks when you make your lunch to give away to others.

5. Bring breakfast (donuts, burritos, cereal, etc.) once a month for everyone in your department.

6. Organize a running/walking group in the before or after work.

7. Have your missional community/small group bring lunch to your workplace once a month.

8. Create a regular time to invite coworkers over or out for drinks.

9. Make a list of your co-workers birthdays and find a way to bless everyone on their birthday.

10. Organize and throw office parties as appropriate to your job.

11. Make every effort to avoid gossip in the office. Be a voice of thanksgiving not complaining.

12. Find others that live near you and create a car pool.

13. Offer to throw a shower for a co-worker who is having a baby.

14. Offer to cover for a co-worker who needs off for something.

15. Start a regular lunch out with co-workers (don’t be selective on the invites).

16. Organize a weekly/monthly pot luck to make lunch a bit more exciting.

17. Ask someone who others typically ignore if you can grab them a soda/coffee while you’re out.

18. Be the first person to greet and welcome new people.

19. Make every effort to know the names of co-workers and clients along with their families.

20. Visit coworkers when they are in the hospital.

21. Bring sodas or work appropriate drinks to keep in your break room for coworkers to enjoy. Know what your co-workers like.

22. Go out of your way to talk to your janitors and cleaning people who most people overlook.

23. Find out your co-workers favorite music and make a playlist that includes as much as you can (if suitable for work).

24. Invite your co-workers in to the service projects you are already involved in.

25. Start/join a city league team with your co-workers.

26. Organize a weekly co-working group for local entrepreneurs at a local coffee shop.

27. Start a small business that will bless your community and create space for mission.

28. Work hard to reconcile co-workers who are fighting with one another.

29. Keep small candy, gum, or little snacks around to offer to others during a long day.

30. Lead the charge in organizing others to help co-workers in need.

Be sure and check out the full article here.

Do you have some other ideas or ways that you’ve been missional at work? Let us know below in the Comments section!

Missional Tip: Pick one of these ideas and act on it this week. Let us know in the comments how it went!

THANKS TO THE VERGE NETWORK GUYS FOR SHARING THESE GREAT SUGGESTIONS!!!
-jason

Cultivating Daily unto the Nations: do you know how Christmas is celebrated in other nations and cultures?

20111222-054801.jpg

As you are celebrating Emmanuel this December, consider taking some time as a family tonight or tomorrow night and Googling “how Christmas is celebrated in __________.”

Fill in the blank with the nation of your choosing. Let your kids choose or choose one with the old rotate-a-globe-and-stop-it-with-a-finger method or maybe you even have friends/family in another part of the world.

Whatever way you select another nation, research how they celebrate Christmas differently than we do in America and incorporate some of those traditions into your own family celebration.

It’ll be fun! And it will continue to cultivate into your family a heart for the nations as well as a global mindset. Which is never a bad thing.

Merry Christmas!!!
-jason