Saturday, January 9, 2010

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dreams + Urbana.

It's almost impossible to dream when you live in a bubble, to imagine a new and different world when all you know is your own. I think this is one of the greatest challenges for American Christians my age. We live in so many bubbles. I live in so many isolated bubbles. There's the "Gordon bubble". For a while I was in the "YWAM bubble". I've lived in my own church's bubble my whole life. And the biggest of all is the "American bubble".

Bubbles blind the eyes of faith, they keep us from dreaming, they hinder ambition, they limit the scope of our imagination in the exchange for security. We trade the inevitable tomorrow for the guarantee of safety. We trade endless possibilities for the predictable. I don't think we do this intentionally though. I think most people don't even know that there is a world of great challenges and opportunities awaiting them.

The greatest part of Urbana was being surrounded by students so full of dreams. It's easier to dream without skeptics around. Hearing the stories of an older generation who chose to dream made me believe that I could do the same. I held the 1946 decision card of Dave Howard, college roomate of Jim Elliot. He made a decision to dream 63 years ago, and as I looked into that old man's eyes I could see no regret. I've also made a decision to dream.

I don't blame you if you choose to live in your bubble instead of embracing crazy dreams and embarking upon wild journeys. I wish I could go back to a time when my dreams didn't ache within me. A time before I saw the world. Before its daunting challenges and opportunities didn't light a flame in my soul. But I have chosen to dream. Or rather God's dreams have chosen me. And I can't return now, I can only invite you to join me in dreaming...

Of a world where people with HIV/AIDS aren't ostracized by the Church and don't have to die in shame.

Of a world where people truly experience the unconditional love of Christ.

Of a world where being born into poverty doesn't mean dieing in poverty.

Of a world where the dreams of a kid born in a township can be realized and exceeded.

Of a world where love abounds, and where reconciliation is a lived reality not simply an ideal.

Of a Church that actually serves the poor and oppressed. Of a Bride with healing and freedom as the the train of her gown.

I dream of greatness.
"It is possible to avoid a multitude of sorrows through the cultivation of an insignificant life. Indeed, if a person's ambition is to avoid the troubles of life, the recipe is simple: shed your ambitions in every direction, cut the wings of every soaring purpose, and seek a life with the fewest contacts and relations. If you want to get through life with the smallest trouble, you must reduce yourself to the smallest compass. Tiny souls can dodge through life; bigger souls are blocked on every side. As soon as a person begins to enlarge his or her life, resistances are multiplied. Let a person remove petty selfish purposes and enthrone Christ, and sufferings will be increased on every side."
-John Henry Jowett, British pastor in the 19th century.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I'm Advertizing Three Books...

These are the three books I'm currently reading. This is the thing... you need to read them too because they are amazing well written books by people I deeply respect.

Happy New Year.

I Met Shane Claiborne

People tend to act weird around people they admire. I stood in line today to get a book signed by a famous author and watched countless individuals stare, fidget, make corny jokes, and ask friends to take their pictures. It made me wonder why truly great people make such an impact on us and cause us to act all weird. I think it’s because secretly we wish we could be like them, we wish we had their guts. So instead we claim to support their message… we buy multiple copies of their books get those books signed, and post our pictures with them on Facebook. The author was Shane Claiborne and whether we agree with him, I think we all wish we could be like him. We all wish we were great. We all wish our lives could make a difference. We all wish we were courageous and radical and followed Jesus in a way that shook things up. As I stood in that line today I came to the conclusion that I was going to be great. I don’t think it was a selfish thought; I simply want my life to matter. There’s something about greatness that can’t be explained in words or summed up with adjectives. There’s something about greatness that goes beyond success or talent. There’s something authentic about greatness that resonates in our heart and soul… we can feel it.

The other day Uncle Paul made a comment that resonated with me. He said that average leaders care about what people think about them whereas great leaders are concerned with what they can get others to believe about themselves. He was paraphrasing a British evangelist
named Steve Chalke who said, "Leadership is not what I can get you to think about me. Leadership is what I can you to think about yourself." My hope is that like Jesus, I can help others to believe in the possibilities of what God can do through them.

I’m learning to be great by learning to serve. We’ll see how this goes…