My dear friends Grant and Emma Wood are leading a Marriage Retreat at the Embassy Suites on the Plaza! Grant and Emma Wood practice at Resonate Clinic. They are amazing, so treat your marriage to this great weekend.
The cost of the retreat is $150 and includes an overnight stay at the
Embassy Suites plus Breakfast and Lunch on Saturday. Register by
Monday, January 14th, 2013. For registration or to get more information email Rachel Reynolds.
i'm moving to the country. or perhaps to one the youthfront camps. my
best running and praying of the year is almost always done within a
couple miles of camp.
recently, rene and i were blessed to engage in a weekend "pilgrimage"
to youthfront south with the jacob's well community. different from a
retreat, the intent of pilgrimage is to intentionally disrupt our
routines and, as a community, to journey together with Jesus as our
travel companion. unlike so many activity-frenzied retreats in the past,
it was an extraordinary time of refreshment. other than meals and
fixed-hour prayer times, there really was no expectation of
participating in any particular activity. if we wanted to take a walk,
take a nap, read, or just hang out and talk, we had grace-filled
freedom. but the true blessing came in stepping beyond our comfort zone
and talking to people we didn't know yet.
it was also so relaxing to have zero responsibilities for planning or
leading activities, although we both hung out with the kids community
for a bit on saturday morning. it was a little surreal to be so close to
the youth group, yet virtually unknown by them. after talking with
parents and just being observant, i know most of the names, but it isn't
until this sunday that we finally step back into weekly volunteer
however conducive each of the youthfront camps is to prayer and
communion with God, it is always when i engage in the dual disciplines
of solitude and physical exercise that i most feel His presence.
normally, i run outside 3-4 times a week around the kansas city area,
but it's always with headphones and plenty of company on the roads. my
loops from camp bring me into contact with virtually no other humans,
and i watch the rural world wake up. and oh! the prayer times are
as i reentered camp with its awakening band of pilgrims, and being not
nearly as steamy as i figured i'd be on such a chilly morning, i
literally slowed down and took notice of the various road signs posted
around the property. it occurred to me, in a moment of divinely sparked
imagination, that i've been missing too many signs in my hurried
attempts to get to whatever is my destination.
the signs posted along the camp roads were placed there by humans,
because they knew something more about the path than others with less
experience might know. so it is with our life in community. some call
them spiritual guides. others refer to 360° discipleship or point to 2 timothy 2:22. however you frame it, other people have perspective that we, in our
limited experience, cannot see. sometimes it's the long road of wisdom
that enables another to speak into our lives. but - and i'm enjoying
every moment of this space - it is the awe and wonder of someone younger
or newer to the path that gives them an amazing vantage point that we
can only gain by being near. either way, we need others.
some signs were not put in place by people. or if they were, it was only
at the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. i speak of revelation, both
natural and specific as contained in scripture. the fact that there is a
tree directly ahead of me is a great opportunity to not run smack into
it. but, as was pointed out later in a wonderful time of outdoor
worship, the trees themselves all have their "arms" constantly pointed
upwards in praise, and join the constant chorus of cicadas in singing to
our glorious God.
if you've ever traveled with a history buff, you know it's a completely
different experience to hear the stories behind the weathered buildings
and timeworn landmarks. they see what you would otherwise miss, and they
bring it to life. so it is with the scriptures. each of us brings our
own stories, knowledge, hurts, joys, and insight when we open the common
book. and so we must remember to heed the signs left not only in the
pages of holy writ, but also by the "vast cloud of witnesses and we must interact with the story of God as a living story, in community.
i also picked up a resource that i might have otherwise missed. among
the wristbands and ultimate discs, there was a stack of copies of mike king's book presence-centered youth ministry: guiding students into spiritual formation. although it's been published for several years, it wasn't until this
week that i finally took in his transformative story of engaging in
spiritual practices both personally and in community that focus ministry
not on programs and numbers but on seeking the continual presence of
God. i will continue to explore and engage for many years, i am sure.
My friend Mike Crawford weighs in on Christian Formation and Music for Immerse: A Journal of Faith, Life and Youth Ministry.
Christian Formation and Music: Part One
By: Mike Crawford
Music is one of God's most powerful and creative forces, and it's played a huge role in my life and is certainly playing a large part in the lives of my kids. I've been reflecting on how I encountered music as a young person and also how I've fostered space in my kids' lives to make sure they encounter the beautiful partnership between God and man in both the listening to and creation of music.
First, a couple quotes I found while reading a great book on calling by Ken Gire, called Windows of the Soul:
"What can we do that makes us the gladdest, what can we do that leaves us with the strongest sense of sailing true north and of peace, which is much of what gladness is? Is it making things with our hands out of wood or stone or paint or canvas? Or is it making something we hope like truth out of words? Or is it making people laugh or weep in a way that cleanses their spirit? I believe that if it is a thing that makes us truly glad, then it is a good thing and it is our thing and it is the calling voice that we were made to answer with our lives." -Frederick Buechner
"There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets in the future." -Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory
For me, the future started knocking on the door when I was in fifth grade. The specific day was August 16, 1977, the day Elvis died...
Yesterday was Tom Ryan's last Sunday as the primary interim speaker during our year long transition at Jacob's Well after the departure of Tim Keel our founding pastor. I had the privilege to honor Tom at the end of the 11:00 am service. The congregation graciously gave him a standing ovation. Tom shared this quote in his message today and I think it is quite profound.
has been called
the unforgivable sin—not presumably because God refuses to forgive it
but because it despairs of the possibility of being forgiven." Frederick Buechner
Yesterday Founding Pastor Tim Keel announced that he is ending his role as Sr. Pastor of Jacob's Well. The day was a challenging but beautiful day in so many ways. Tim Keel is one of my closest friends and partners in ministry and life. This is shocking for the Jacob's Well Community but not surprising. Tim's gifts are very Apostolic. I've received several calls today from people outside of the Jacob's Well Community who acknowledge that Tim's departure is not only a huge loss for Jacob's Well but a huge loss for Kansas City. It is also a big loss nationally because Tim is accepting a position as a Lecturer at Laidlaw College in New Zealand. He will also begin the process of earning a PhD.
So many of us are extremely excited for the Keel family as they embark on this adventurous journey together but we are also deeply saddened by their departure from our community. We shared the news with the Elders on Thursday (early morning) followed by the staff. I had the privilege of speaking after Tim's announcement and message on "Holy Spirit as provocateur" (we are in a series on the Holy Spirit). I spoke about the blessing Tim and Mimi have been to our community and the story we find ourselves in. Click here to listen to the service.
Please Pray for Tim, Mimi and family AND please pray for the Jacob's Well Community during this transition.
I love when we do baptisms at Jacob's Well. In addition to all the baptisms, we
also had several dedications and annointings. We pray this prayer over each person baptized, dedicated or annointed.
Together, we pray that ___________’s minds will know Your wisdom. Their eyes will see Your glory. Their ears will hear Your words. Their mouths will speak Your truth. Their hearts will be Jesus’ home. Their hands will do Your work. That their knees would bow only before You, the Lord Our God. And that ________'s feet would follow You in the way of Jesus all the days of their life. Amen.
To conclude our time of Baptism and Dedications I invited everyone gathered to Remember their Baptism. Martin Luther, the Father of the Reformation, consistently spoke of the importance of "Remembering our Baptism." This remembering is a deep remembering which invites us to recommit, repent, worship, celebrate and much more. We remember in a Kairos way instead of a Chronos way. Baptism is a Sacrament. This means that Baptism is multi-dimensional and layered with significance. We Remember our Baptism not only as individuals but as a community. Water has deep implications for life, creation, restoration, and resurrection. We truly are a community of people called to be defined by our relationship with God. We are identified with Christ, who died, was buried and arose to new life. Remembering our Baptism reminds us that we have life and our destined to be resurrection people.
I closed the service by instructing everyone gathered to scoop up a handful of
water and pour it over their head or make the sign of the cross on their forehead, letting the water run down their face. In this way we Remembered our Baptism as a community of pilgrims.
"As often as we fall away, we ought to recall the memory of our baptism and fortify our minds with it, that we may always be sure and
confident of the forgiveness of sins." John Calvin, (Institutes, 4, xv, 3)
After morning prayer, breakfast and an hour break, the bells sounded for all to come to church. I love bells. It doesn't get much better than to walk to church when the bells call. Mike Crawford and gang led some great music and Deth led us on a look at Psalm 24.
The earth is the LORD'S and all it holds, the world and those who live there. For God founded it on the seas, established it over the rivers. Who may go up the mountain of the LORD? Who can stand in his holy place? "The clean of hand and pure of heart, who are not devoted to idols, who have not sworn falsely. They will receive blessings from the LORD, and justice from their saving God. Such are the people that love the LORD, that seek the face of the God of Jacob." Selah. Lift up your heads, O gates; rise up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may enter. Who is this king of glory? The LORD, a mighty warrior, the LORD, mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O gates; rise up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may enter. Who is this king of glory? The LORD of hosts is the king of glory. Selah. Psalm 24
On Saturday night all of us pilgrims on the Jacob's Well Pilgrimage leaned into
and re-enacted aspects of the wanderings of Israel in the wilderness and walked through a replica of the Tabernacle God instructed the Israelites to build. This worship and learning experience turned into an amazing worship and transformational time for all of us. The weather couldn't have been more perfect for this night. The stars came out and the full moon slowly emerged over the trees in the Eastern
sky. This was a time for our community to imagine what it means to be the people of God. God's instructions to Moses and the Israelites concerning the Tabernacle was for the purpose of reconstituting for the Hebrew people what it meant to be the people of a Holy God. The Hebrews who had spent centuries in Egypt and had forgotten who they were and who they belonged to. One of the prayer exercises that we engaged in was to use clay to shape a representation of what our idols are. After sharing what the idols were in our lives we destroyed them together. We truly want to be the people of God who are following faithfully in the way of Jesus.