Friday, December 30, 2005

The Bigger Picture

Whenever I have a few weeks without school (like now), I always find myelf relfecting on the bigger picture of our mission. I think sometimes we can't see the forrest because we are stuck between the trees. I'm gaining presprective from those who have moved on to other forrests. I'm also gaining perspective from those who experience our forrest for the first time. For example:

I'm fascinated by what Dave Carder said recently on his blog (and previously as a comment on this site). Check out the last two paragrpahs of the entry called "church thoughts."

I'm intrigued by Jeremiah Smith's first impressions of our community from his blog entry on Friday, December 23.

And I continue to be humbled and honored that a significant part of my "job" is responding to inquiries about the simple church journey that come from people all over North America and even beyond. Almost every week for the past three years or so, I receive at least one such inquiry. Some inquire via e-mail. Some inquire via phone. Some people make a trip here to meet in person. Occassionally I accept an inviation to take a trip somewhere to meet with them, or to speak at their "deal," or to write for their publication.

Though the inquirers do various things with the stories I share, they all are so encouraged by who we are what we have become. I remember responding to inquiries from: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, Canada, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Great Britain, and Australia. There are probably other places, but these are the ones that I remember.

We know the truth about our struggles. We know that we've barely begun to fully experience God and community and mission. We know that we screw up as much as we get it right. We know that there is no glory and no great "success" as the world counts success.

Yet those who aren't stuck between the trees are fascinated by such a forrest as ours. And if not just for own sakes, then for their sakes, we must journey on. Those who will, we must delve deeper into the simple journey of life that flows from Father to us, to each other, and on to those around us. In our struggle to live out this simple expression of the Kingdom we have received, we are being used on a mission that cannot be easily seen from the forrest floor. We must trust the One who sees from a higher perspective.