Thursday, March 29, 2007
Marcus, Gaby and Naty have also been fighting some nasty coughs. Please pray the viruses will go away!
Please also pray that God would sell our house in His time. I think I'm a little too anxious about the whole thing. I need to remember that He is in charge and Naty is good at reminding me of that fact.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
This is "Ponyville" a little town Gaby made for her pony to play in.
We went to Iglesia Cristiana Hispana yesterday afternoon. I helped to lead worship and we got to stay for the meal afterward. Gaby and Marcus love going to be able to go to Sunday School, which we don't really do with house churches. Marcus made this headband there and he didn't take it off the rest of the day!
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
After some good comida mexicana we went to Graeter's for ice cream and Gaby and Marcus were thrilled that they had an indoor play area there. They even met a new friend named Faith and had great fun at Graeter's! (gotta love the pun)
Us with Tim and Kat at La Casita
Gaby, Marcus and Faith on one big Banana
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
We are now beginning to pack up stuff to either ship, store, sell or give away. Going through all of my stuff makes me think about what is valuable in God's sight.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
On Friday, Joe, a co-worker at Norton that grew up Mennonite, brought up that in his fmily they always got together with other families and friends on Sunday evenings for fellowship. I remember doing the same thing when we were kids. Today we kept that wonderful Mennonite tradition alive. We had some good friends, Fredi, Gloria, Irving and Christopher, over for hamburgers on the grill. I also made a fire in our fire barrel that I got from my dad and we roasted marshmallows. By that time, two neighbor girls, Ana and Jessica came over to join the party. Everybody had fun outside until it got too cold and dark, then we kept the conversation going indoors. Here are some of the pics.
Naty has started baking whole wheat sourdough bread about once or twice a week. Here Marcus is helping her. Usually she makes one normal sized loaf for our family and then two or three small loaves that we can give away to other people.
For our "Family Night" this past Thursday we all worked at getting our support letter mailing together to send out to begin fundraising for our move to Venezuela. Gaby and Marcus actually personally signed 60 of the letters too, that took some work!
El Remedio para la tos - cough remedy: this is a homemade remedy that Naty's mom always made for her when she had a cough when she was little. It consists of a sliced onion with honey. Naty really had a laugh when I actually made it too on Friday night. She was at a "lady's night out" with our house church network and Marcus kept begging me for the "remedio" so I made it. I'm still not convinced of its effectiveness, but at least it made my son happier! (He still has a cough though.)
Naty found these rain coats on sale at Aldi's (our favorite store) so she got them for Gaby and Marcus. They got to use them Saturday morning and were all smiles. Fortunately the rain stopped at about noon and I was able to do some touch-up painting in the front of our house. We are trying to get our place all spruced up to put it up for sale.
Gaby and Marcus were both wore out from a long Saturday of working, playing and hanging out with friends in the evening. This is how Gaby fell asleep last night. Too cute to resist a picture!
Friday, March 9, 2007
If you would like to get the real thing, please send me an email(email@example.com) In the mean time, here is the "no frills"edition:
Dear Family and Friends,
For the first time in a long while, I feel like we have actually been too busy to write an update letter. I think that is a sure sign that we need to slow down! Instead of boring you with the details of all that the past to months have held, I think I’ll just give a timeline that lists the main events and then highlight a few specific God sightings.
Dec 23- Jan 2
Christmas w/ family in PA and visiting w/ friends in VA
Learning from Just Walk Across the Room with CNM
4th Noche de Gloria Multi-Church Spanish Praise and Worship night
Naty and I went to Long Beach, CA to an Organic Church Planting Conference
Engaged Encounter in Dover, OH
Naty and Marcus were both very sick w/ the flu
Went to Mansfield, OH to speak at the Johnsville Mennonite Church’s winter youth retreat
One other major happening in our lives is that we have now been officially appointed by Rosedale Mennonite Missions to go to Venezuela in August of this year. We are very excited and grateful to God for his continued leadership as we continue on this journey. In the next few weeks we will be sending out a mailing that describes in detail what our plans are in going to Venezuela and offers you the opportunity to support us financially if God leads you to that.
Discipleship has become a main focus for both Naty and I in a much deeper way since the beginning of the year. Each of us has several people that we have begun meeting with on a regular basis for Bible study, prayer and sharing life together. We have been sort of been following the Life Transformation Groups that we read about in Organic Church but we have also been flexible to follow as God leads in each relationship. We have both been enjoying the one-on-one relationships with others very deeply and have found even deeper life and fulfillment in ministry in this way. Without a doubt, we are thoroughly enjoying the freedom that we have from meeting as house churches to focus our efforts on people so much more than meetings and programs.
Gaby and Marcus had great fun with all of the snow that we had during February. I actually had five days off school thanks to cold weather and the white stuff, so it was great to actually get to use their sled this year! Last year I think we only got it out one time! It’s so much fun now that both of them are big enough to be outside and help with shoveling driveways and sidewalks. We loved it!
Here are a few of the things you can be praying about over the next few months:
· The sale of our house
· Continued growth in the relationships we have built
· 5th Noche de Gloria March 24
· A restful Spring Break and safe trip to Belleville Apr. 4-8
· Engaged Encounter in Dover, OH Apr. 27-29
Dion, Naty, Gabriela and Marcus
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
How much of the "spiritual authority" that is practiced in the church is actually authentic when defined in this way? It's amazing how we have accredited spiritual leaders certain "authority" based upon the degrees that they have and the seminaries where they have studied. What about personal integrity? Gifting? Calling? Aren't these much more important than titles and degrees?
Hirsch goes on to say, "Perhaps the single most significant source of the malaise of leadership in our day comes from the way, and the context, in which we form leaders. For the most part, the would-be leader is withdrawn from the context of ordinary life and ministry in order to study in a somewhat cloistered environment, for up to seven years in some cases." (TFW pg. 121) He says that the seminarian is "socialized out of ordinary life" and develops a "type of language and thinking that is seldom understood and expressed outside of the seminary." To me, seminaries don't make disciples, life, action and obedience do.
I imagine that seminary has some value, (at least I know that it costs a lot of money) but personally I have been amazed by how much Naty and I have learned by being in a missionary internship for the past two years. We could have both quit our jobs, took more loans and went to seminary, but I don't think that we would have learned nearly as much as we have "getting our hands dirty" in ministry. Isn't that how the disciples learned? Isn't that how we ought to keep making disciples?
I want to say a BIG thank you to Locust Grove Mennonite Church, New Covenant Fellowship, Rosedale Mennonite Missions, Iglesia Cristiana Hispana, and Columbus Network of Micro-Churches. You all have supported us spiritually, financially, with encouragement, and through prayer. You have given us our "seminary degrees." THANK YOU!
We have yet to start another house church aside from the one at our house, but we have been able to disciple a lot more people one-on-one than we were doing before, so we are on the way. It has been a total change reorienting our lives around lost people instead of church activities and I think we are beginning to see God's hand in the lives of others who really need Him.
The following list is from Guy Muse's blog, I stole it. I confess. (You can get to his blog under my "Favorite Blogs" list) He has been reading through Organic Church and has had some great questions/comments about what he's discovering. I really need to read it again, but the following "Top Ten" quotes are a good refresher. Thanks Guy.
My personal favorite is the last one in the "Honorable Mention" list. What do you think?
ORGANIC CHURCH - By Neil Cole TOP TEN quotes:
10. If you want to win this world to Christ, you are going to have to sit in the smoking section.
9. If we can't see them, we won't love them (Matt.9:36).
If we can't love them, we won't pray for them (9:36-38).
If we can't pray for them, we won't win them (10:1).
If we can't win them, we won't send them (10:2-5).
8. Bad people make good soil--there's a lot of fertilizer in their lives.
7. Simplicity is the key to the fulfillment of the Great Commission in this generation. If the process is complex, it will break down early in the transference to the next generation of disciples. The more complex the process, the greater the giftedness needed to keep it going. The simpler the process, the more available it is to the broader Christian populace.
6. There are two kinds of lost people in the world, the moths and the cockroaches. In the darkness, it's impossible to tell them apart, so the best way to discover the difference is to turn the light on. The moths will be drawn to the light, and the cockroaches will flee.
5. Though we long for fresh fruit, many of our efforts at growing it leave us with nothing but mud because we have failed to plant the seed that brings life. It does not matter how good you are at fertilizing, watering, cultivating, and harvesting. If you do not plant the seed, you will never have a harvest--never.
4. We must invest everything in the few who will bear fruit. Life is too short and the potential yields are too great to spend our lives babysitting fruitless people.
3. We would do much better as leaders in the Church to learn at the feet of the farmer rather than study with the CEO...It is time we see that the Church starts in the fields, not in the barns.
2. We have taught people to be consumers rather than workers. We have made a terrible mistake by separating the convert from the worker. They are not two, but one. Each new convert is a worker--immediately.
1. We want to lower the bar of how church is done and raise the bar of what it means to be a disciple.
*Jesus shows us that the workers must come from the harvest itself. He transforms the twelve from being disciples in chapter ten verse one to being apostles in verse two. They went from praying for the harvest to preaching in the harvest in one verse.
*Let's face it: if we can't multiply a group of two or three, then we should forget about multiplying a group of fifteen to twenty. By focusing on the simple, we actually can see dramatic results in the complex.
*The resources needed for a great harvest are already found in the harvest itself--finances, facilities, future leaders. All we need is to get out there and reap. There is much power in 'showing up'.
*What is needed for a harvest? Prayer and workers. The more prayer we offer, the more workers we will see. The more workers raised up, the greater the harvest.*Instead of bringing people to church so that we can then bring them to Christ; let's bring Christ to people where they live.
*We believe that church should happen wherever life happens. You shouldn't have to leave life to go to church.
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
But who is the real Jesus? What was he really like? What was his personality like? What would it have been like to sit down with a glass of wine and talk with him?
The more I read the more I think I am starting to see more of the real Jesus, and it is an amazing experience.
What about you? How does your Jesus look? What is he like?