Waiting Season

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Waiting Season continues. 2015 has been a tremendous year of change and transition. We moved to sunny Florida from Indiana in February and have embraced the blessing of awesome weather all year round. But with every change there is transition time and waiting.

After moving I had been in search for the right place to connect for our family. It took us a while but after the waiting period we found Next Level Church and are loving every experience. Kyla’s job has been a major transition and after a period of waiting to see who would purchase their contracts, LPG stepped up and it has been a great opportunity. Each transition has come with a season of waiting.

As you can tell by the picture above we are in a season of waiting for our second (yes I said second) child to be born. This was is also a major waiting period. We found out we were going to have another child a couple of months after moving. Talk about transition.
Even as we are now in the last days of waiting, it feels as if the end is not in sight.

Knowing that we were having a baby girl in our hearts completed our family building prayers but now sometimes feels like torture. The promise has been given, the gift is in route but the wait continues. I wonder if this is how Mary and Joseph felt as they waited for the promised child or the Jewish followers waiting on the promised savior. Possibly how the Disciples felt waiting on the promised gift of God.

Perhaps you are in a season of waiting and it seems there is nothing but time in front of you. Stay strong and be encouraged your not alone and the wait is soon over. The promise will come to life and the blessing will be overflowing.

Read: Acts 1:4, Ps. 37:7, and Romans 12:12

The Gift

Have you ever wondered why God has given you special gifts. Certain spiritual gifts that seem to bless others and help empower others to strive for all they can be in Christ. This past week I attended this conference and was blown away by the idea of the missional and incarnational church movement. Although this is nothing new as far as the vision God has given me for a mission driven community of believers I will plant, but I was enlivened by the way the ideas were packaged.

Especially, the ideas described by Alan Hirsch. It is amazing how for many years we have continued to do ministry in a colonial mode of doing ministry. NO MORE! It is time for us to embrace doing ministry how Christ did ministry, from within the people. 

Throughout my life I have seen ministry done by imposing our views, values, and visions on others verses figuring out how the Gospel is interpreted and understood in the context of those we have been sent to. My heart has been pricked by God to move forward with the mission found inMatthew 28: 18-20 (Message)

Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”

This is what being a Christian (one who is like Christ) or a Disciple of Christ (one who follows the path and guidance of Christ). Making Disciples! But not in our traditional sense of the term. Often when we say we are “Making Disciples” we are really only talking about getting people to join the church (building) and pay tithes (dues).

What would happen if we ignited a passion for Christ in people and gathered partners in the mission of saving souls, healing the pain in our world, and creating change in our culture? What would happen if people gave because they believed in the mission and gave out of a heart full of cheer (2 Cor. 9:7)? What would that look like? How awesome would it be if every believer understood we were all called to the ministry of “Making Disciples” for Jesus Christ?

This is what I am beginning to understand why God has blessed me with so many gifts. Not so I could boast about anything, but rather so I can give him glory in everything. Well God, I am ready to stand up and join your movement to bring your people back to their purpose in you. I am ready to roll with you no matter what. I have been in a preparation and conditioning program for a little more than a year and now is the time to press forward.

Will you join me in this movement towards mission? It won’t be easy but it is what we were (as believers) called to do, “Make Disciples”. On your job, in your neighborhood, on mission trips, at the YMCA, in the grocery, in the mall, wherever you are don’t sit back, stand up and allow your gifts be put to use for God’s glory.

Being and Doing

What are we doing? Over the past few days I have been reading various articles and blogs about the Missional Church. One of my favorite thus far is here. The following quote inspired me to continue to think deeper about my calling as a Christian.

Over many years, other prophetic voices have tried to call us to a more authentic theology, but we have not always listened. In 1969, missiologist Heinrich Kastin wrote: “Mission was, in the early stages, more than a mere function; it was a fundamental expression of the life of the church. The beginnings of a missionary theology are therefore also the beginnings of Christian theology as such.”

“As you design, refine, or re-align, these questions about the role of mission will be some of your most important decisions. Do you believe that missions are something that the church does, or that mission is something that the church intrinsically is? Your answer to this question either limits or releases people. It helps define whether the church seeks the lost, or whether we expect the lost to seek the church. Which will it be?”

It’s amazing how many Christians view Sunday morning as a practice for when we get to heaven and others see it as a weekly inspiration. If this is the basic purpose of our gatherings then we have missed God’s call to go (Matt. 28:19-20). I know some may believe this call is personal or that it is only for those of us who have claimed a call to ministry, but this call includes anyone who claims the name of Christ which includes our public lives as much as our private (if not more).

We are called not only to do religious things but rather to become the message of reconciliation and wholeness to a broken and divided world. We are called to become God’s agents of change using our influence to form policies that assist in the betterment of all people. We are called not only to worship God on a Sunday but allow worship to become a lifestyle, seeking to give God glory in all we do (Romans 12:1-2).

Isaiah 58 instructs us towards the spiritual disciplines God really desires of us.

6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

The power in a missional minded and spirited church is to teach the members to go and live out the mission, not just personally but collectively, corporately, and politically. What is your circle of influence? How can you make a difference by influencing others? Be (live, act, continue) the change you want to see in the world and influence others to join the cause.

Let’s Get It!!!

Moving In The Promise

John 14:12-14 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

In less than 100 days My family and I will be heading to Jackson, MS to do what God has called me to do, start the Light of Grace Ministry. This is a walk of faith and a move on the promise that anything I ask for in the name of Jesus that glorifies God, He will make happen.

Over the past couple of weeks I have really given myself to reading books and learning as much as I can about what others have gone through in church planting. Although this insight has been wonderful, I understand that my experience will be like none other.

When Jesus gave us this promise that anything we ask he will do, we must understand that it is only towards those things that glorify God. God has granted you power through Jesus Christ to accomplish your goals, bring to reality your dreams, and create your future so that God gets the glory. God has placed this power in all of us who believe. Not just power to wake up in the morning, but power to impact the World.

Jesus tells us that we will do everything he did on earth and greater. Do you believe it?

As we prepare to start ministry in Jackson, MS in August, and launch the church in February of 2011, we are believing for miracles to happen in the lives we touch in Jackson. We are believing for families to be changed, people to find healing and wholeness, communities of people to come together, and a city to be changed forever. This is what I am praying for and I know God will make good on his promise.

I need you to take a short minute and pray this prayer for us:

“God, allow your hand of favor to be on The Light of Grace Ministry. Bless this ministry financially, spiritually, and socially. Bless Oscar with favor and strength to lead his congregation and family in the grace of God. Allow the windows of heaven to pour out financial, spiritual, and personal blessings on his family and ministry so they may bless others. We believe with him in this work of God. In Jesus name, AMEN!”  

What is it that you are praying for? What are your hopes? What are your dreams? I pray for you, you pray for me! 

Stay tuned! Let’s Get It!!!

Power ON

Push the Button

John 15:7-8  “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”

It is great to be back in Jamaica with my baby! She is a wonderful friend and partner. Although we both make mistakes we both understand what we have been blessed with. Recognizing what you have in your possession is very important for striving towards your future. This understanding is what most of us miss as we go through life and plan for our future success.

One thing I have learned from reading this book is that God has already gifted us with the tools, people, talents, and power to do and achieve all that we hope for. The key to it all is to understand we have this power. The hope you have in your future is waiting on you to tap into the source, in order to make that hope your reality.

The scripture above shows us that when we abide in Christ whatever we pray for will be done. This means that once you accept Jesus as your Lord and savior, you have the power to plan your success and achieve that plan. You just have to turn on the power. The power button is your faith.

As I am working on the strategic plan for the ministry, it has caused me do some faith thinking. Faith thinking is when you dream about what your future will look like and actually feel the emotion of achieving your goal. This has been fun to visualize what a successful launch will be like.

The Vision: In this vision I saw 250 people ready to see what this ministry could provide as far as a regular place of worship. I could hear the people talking about the service they witnessed us do in the community and the positive impact we have made on the city. I could see the lights begin to dim and the music revving up. I heard the worship leader ask, “Are you ready to worship an ever loving God?” (with the intro music in the background.) I could see the people worshipping just as they did in the pre-launch attraction concerts and events.

During this envisioning I felt chills going down my back and a smile on my face as I prepared to preach on “God Operates in Radicals.”

From this vision I am now able to plan strategically about how to get here. This will take much prayer, discernment, prayer, planning, prayer, money, and prayer. When going for your goal prayer can not be passive, it must be active. Active in the sense that I am praying believing that God will answer and grant me the request, knowing it is in his divine purpose for my life, which is to give Him glory. (It’s in the scripture go back up and read it.) 

My faith is the power button that causes my prayer and God’s action to connect. Without faith it is as if you never prayed for it. Your faith is what God responds to and your destiny depends on.

Hebrews 11:6 (Message) “It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.”

What are you hoping for? Is your power on? 

Whatever your hope, pray with faith that God will make it your reality. Pray with your power on.

Can you believe with me?

Somebody had to do it.

WOW! This has been an amazing week and I have talked to so many people about the vision for ministry. For most it has been a breath of fresh air, for others it has been a threat to the status quo, and for the rest it is just plain weird.

As I walk with God, seek his plan, and open my life to his grace and mercy, I can’t help but ask my self “Why?”

Then I think about it. It is because not many are doing the mission that I believe God has called us to do. This mission is found in Isaiah 61:1-3

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me,
Because the LORD has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
3 To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”

This is also echoed by the one we are called to be like, Jesus Christ in Luke 4:18. This week, as I had conversation after conversation about the prospects of planting a ministry such as the one I believe God has called me to lead, it revealed why.

Many Christians (and probably most religious people) desire to practice their perspective religion in some form of a worship service. This allows us to express our love for God in the presence of each other and before God in a place dedicated for such worship practices. (Tell me if I am wrong in that observation.) I agree this is one of the most important components of ministry, but I believe that it is a component and not the basis of who we are called to be.

If that was the basis of what Jesus called us as Christians to be why would he have preached the gospel, heal the sick, empower the oppressed, deliver the bound, and set free the captive?

I desire to begin ministry with effective and empowering service to the community in such a dynamic way that from the service we will build a church of people who have a heart for service. I am crazy enough to believe that their are people out there that may be sick of church but willing to serve in the name of Christ. I am crazy to believe that through their service, God will form a body of believers that come together for the purpose of worship, encouragement, empowerment, and sending forth. I am crazy enough to believe that through bible studies, fellowship, and events throughout the community we will bring people from various races and social backgrounds together. I am crazy enough to believe that God will use me to lead such a movement.

Now is the time. I need your prayers and your support. Tell a friend and stay connected. Let’s do this together.