Today I had a breakfast meeting with a guy who is a house church network leader for Orange County named Ken Eastburn.
I was late, but praise God he was still there when I pulled up at the Krispy Kreme (yes, that's where we met).
We shared together about how God had called each of us into this crazy thing called House Church and were thrilled to see where our testimonies converged, and intrigued where our stories contrasted. But, all in all, it was evident to see that God is indeed doing something significant throughout the world, and even in Orange County, as He calls people to step out of the traditional church and into this new (and yet not so new) thing called "House Church".
I'm not sure what will come from our meeting. I wasn't really sure how to respond when he asked me how he could help me. I don't think I have any really need for "help" at this point in the life of our house church, but perhaps there will be a benefit from knowing others in my area who are also in this same Kingdom work alongside me, and perhaps there can be something to learn or to gain from sharing with other house church planters and pastors about what God has been doing or saying to us as we follow the Holy Spirit in this way.
For the most part we are alone in this venture. I am aware of a few others who are planting house churches, but most of them are in other States, and of those who are in California I've not met many of them face to face.
So, maybe there's a real value for us to have community with others outside of our own autonomous house church?
I've been a bit concerned about the fact that, although we've called ourselves "The Mission" in order to emphasize our calling individually as missionaries and to remind us that we are on a mission, for the most part we've been pretty self-focused.
Granted, some of us still serve at the motel in Santa Ana each month, and individually many of us in our house church are living out the missional calling in our private lives.
But as a Body, we the members of "The Mission" have not yet stepped outside our comfort zones and become missional.
Except of course for the recent incident with "Tommy" the homeless man that Jason responded to. And we've yet to make contact with Tommy again since that time. He's vanished. I drive by that same intersection a couple of times each week and I've even made extra trips just to see if I could find him, but so far no luck.
So, maybe God is gently urging us and nudging us outside of our little comfy spot in my den and asking us to venture outward? Maybe we do need to become aware of others in our own area who are doing something similar and share ideas, even fellowship with them and pray for them, encourage them, worship with them.
One thing Ken and I discussed was the possibility of publishing a magazine that would resource the Orange County/SoCal House Church movement with articles, testimonies, and even just provide visibility of other house churches being planted every month. I'd love to be in on something like this.
It makes me realize I need to be spending more time on my knees praying for God's direction about not only our house church ("The Mission") specifically, but also about what God has in the future for us. It makes me realize that I might have some other role to play in the southern California area regarding house churches and helping to encourage others in the same boat as I am.
Ken and I discussed the possibility of creating a website with a forum where other house church leaders would be able to share ideas, stories, and concerns. I know I could probably help with that a little bit too.
It also makes me realize that this little newsletter has something to do with what God is doing in the house church movement as well. I'm not exactly sure what yet...but something, I think.
I preached a message at Soul Survivor last Sunday night about The Gospel of the Kingdom, specifically about "Conversatio Morem" and what it means to us as followers of Jesus. It was refreshing to me (if no one else) to remember what all of this is about. It's refreshing to contrast the ethics and the doctrine of the early church fathers and the great thinkers and theologians of recent history (Fenelon, Tertulian, Jonathan Edwards, A. W. Tozer, etc.) and see how insanely radical these guys appear when you hear them alongside the likes of modern "pop-Christian" preachers of the day (reference anyone on Christian television, radio, bookstores, etc.).
We've been looking at the words of Jesus over the last few months at Soul Survivor and I have to say it's like getting a cold splash of water on your soul when you hear Jesus say such powerful things like "Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven." (Matt 5:17-20), or "In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:33).
Jesus did not pull any punches. His words are powerful and life-changing. They shake us up. They make us doubt. They cause us to examine our own lives seriously.
Maybe that's why we avoid looking directly into the red letters for extended periods of time?
I am more determined than ever to surrender all of my life to Jesus. This is why we need Grace.
ARTICLE UPDATE: My new article "Green Card" is now published online at www.ginkworld.net
PODCAST UPDATE: Just added two new podcast/sermon mp3's from DALLAS WILLARD at my website. They're free! Go and download now. Very good stuff!
T-SHIRT UPDATE: Yes, I've been moving forward with the t-shirt idea. Hopefully I'll have some cool designs available to show everyone in the next few weeks or so. Keep watching this space.
MOMENTUM '06- Seriously, if you're wanting to hear some of the most incredible teaching and worship ever, you'd be crazy to miss this! The registration fees go up on June 1st so don't miss your chance to get in on the Early Rates of $49.99.
The conference features MIKE PILAVACHI, TODD HUNTER, BRENTON BROWN, DAVID RUIS, JOHN THOMAS and many more. (I'll be teaching a couple of workshops as well. One on "Compassion Ministry" and one on "Missional Gospel").
Register online and get more info here: