I’ve been thinking about another Midwestern spring phenomenon…

Dandelions

“We have all seen the simplest of weeds, the venerable dandelion, masquerading as a flower in the fullness of its yellow bloom, and then quickly fading to gray… Who knows how it came to this little garden, drifting in on the wind, no doubt, and settling unseen into the fertile soil to germinate. Soon it sprouts tiny green leaflets that grow and extend themselves upward… Who would want to pluck such a brightly colored thing from the ground? In its full flush it seems to exude the energy of spring and summer, tempting the pollinating bees as ably as any rose I have ever seen. Its slender stalks, so frail and milky when snapped away by the casual gardener, are in fact designed to give way easily, so as to leave the vital root of the plant intact. And its hour and day in the sun is fleeting and brief, a mere wink and a nod before the plant gets about its real business—the making of more dandelions.

In a matter of days the golden crown can wither and whiten to an afro of puffy white and gray seedlings. If your hand was in the slightest stayed, and you have not troweled up the deepest tendrils of its roots by then, you have lost your battle with this hardy weed. Try to pluck it away when it has gone to gray, and you ensure the next generation will colonize your world. The slightest touch sets the feather light seedlings to flight, and they drift and scatter on the barest whisper of a breeze. One dandelion can become a hundred in the space of a few short weeks, and any gardener arriving too late on the scene will have a great challenge before him. Just when you think you have plucked out the last of the feisty little demons, you find ten more have rooted somewhere else.” *

This week during the INSTITUTE we were spending the hour in Solitude, during that time I started thinking about the seed metaphors that Jesus talked about. My mind ran onto dandelions. In the middle of my musing…one of those delicate dandelion seeds came floating right at me. It missed me yet landed right on the picnic table in front of me. (That cinched that I would be writing about it here in this email! )

The seed didn’t find suitable soil there on the picnic table, but a gentle breeze whisked it away more than 20 yards in the air before I couldn’t track it. In that little seed lies resident the whole potential to germinate, to grow, to produce a flower, then to produce seeds that starts the cycle all over again. Amazing.

It’s amazing that the Good News Seed has resident in it the potential to germinate people into followers of Jesus, to grow, to produce fruit and seeds to start the cycle all over again. It’s simple, light, and UNSTOPPABLE! Just like dandelions in the Midwest in springtime…

Press On,

Mike

*the dandelion article above was excerpted from an online article by John Schettler in his article found here


Goofy stuff after serving at Annie & Andy for 2nd Avenue Elementary School

Looking outside my house for the last couple of weeks, there are all kinds of these little maple seeds covering our front yard/garden. Hundreds and hundreds of these little seeds have descended upon us.

Unfortunately for my neighbors, the way God designed these little seeds is that as they fall from the tree, they take flight. They twist like a helicopter blade and the wind can carry them far from the tree.

In fact, that’s what I remember calling them as a kid–“helicopters.” Our whole street is littered with these seeds. Neighbors several doors down have these little guys in their yards as well.

When you get a large mature tree, these seeds can go a long way. Our tree is huge, so it’s easy to see how these helicopters can get carried far away from the tree.

What a great illustration of what we celebrated on Sunday night as we assembled folks from our network of house churches. During the last section of the night, we took time to pray for those who have been apart of our community and now are sprinkled around the globe.

It was amazing to see the list of people that we are connected with relationally around the globe. You can check out the list HERE (PDF). If you are on it, you got prayed for on Sunday night! (I apologize ahead of time if you aren’t on the list and feel like you should be. Anytime you do a list you leave people out…so I’m sure this is no exception!)

We see ourselves having a GlobaLocal mission. Certainly God has given us a mission for our neighborhoods and urban Columbus. At the same time, we understand that God moves people (See Acts 17:26-27). Just like those helicopter seeds are carried by the wind, we know that people are carried to new places by the Spirit.

We have been privileged to know and invest in such wonderful people who are now all over the place. We pray that disciples will be made by these and that local expressions of the church will grow up in those new places.

God’s creation grows and reproduces…so should His Church. We rejoice in the opportunity to serve the King and the Body. We are glad He is sowing us all over the world!


mature tree


seeds that start it all

One of our friends in Portland, Oregon recently sent out a letter that I wanted to pass on to you…

FREEDOM IN JESUS

In the second film of The Lord of the Rings trilogy-The Two Towers-there is a king who is reluctant to go to war. Theoden is fearful and timid. But an army is marching through his lands, an army bred for a single purpose: to destroy the world of men. Villages are falling all around him; women and children are being slain. Still Theoden balks: “I will not risk open war.” “Open war is upon you, whether you would risk it or not,” Aragon replies.*

When I (Rich) first heard these words, I almost exploded out of my seat. “That’s it,” I thought, because they perfectly describe so many of us. Believers and unbelievers alike, who unknowingly are living in the midst of a brutal and vicious battle with the world, the flesh, and the devil, and yet will not go to war. Why this deception? Because either we don’t know there is a battle, or have been told we don’t have to fight for our freedom in Christ. It’s both sad and chilling.

Yet into the midst of this war-torn, fallen world, the Father sent His Son, our Savior Jesus declaring:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-20).

The Father has been graciously leading Kimberly and me into an increasingly deeper understanding of what Jesus meant by this “Good News.” He wasn’t just proclaiming these words to the masses. His mission was to incarnate them experientially into His needy follower’s lives, as we see throughout the gospels.

To us, this Good News recognizes our need for intimacy with Jesus (discipleship), life-transformation, healing, and deliverance. We are seeking to allow Jesus to do His work in and through us, as we minister to those who so desperately need the life-changing power of the Gospel. Let us describe the fallen-world pattern we’ve seen unfolding among those the Father is sending to us in our church planting ministry.

Frequently, we are meeting with people who have life-dominating problems. Food, drugs, sex, alcohol, sickness, idolatry, fear and anxiety, abuse, co-dependency, perfec­tionism, stress, compulsivity, passivity, broken marriages and relationships, unforgiveness and bitterness, hopelessness, and despair, to name a few. At base level, these are people like you and me, broken from the battle to varying degrees.

But in the fallen-world pattern we are seeing time and again, these presenting prob­lems are symptoms of even deeper, crippling wounds from their past. Damaging life events, sometimes chronic in nature, that have led to wounds of rejection, abandon­ment, betrayal, abuse, and neglect, often inflicted from their family-of-origin or other close bonds.

Left unaddressed, these wounds give rise to faulty belief systems, as people struggle with lies about themselves, other people, and God. Lies like “God doesn’t care about me,” “I’m no good,” “No one could love someone like me,” etc.

From lies like these, vows are made. For example, “/’// never trust anyone again,” “I’m so dirty, that I will never be free,” “I’ll be so perfect on the outside, that no one can question what’s on the inside.” The apostle Paul calls these broken places “strongholds or footholds” (Ephesians 4:26-27), that give Satan and his demons a measure of influ­ence, bringing oppression and affliction into our lives (Romans 6:16).

The results are damaged, broken people. And it’s because of these dark, unhealed places from our past that we develop reactive sin patterns and dysfunctional coping skills to dull and medicate the pain. And it’s here that the life-dominating problems we noted above come into play.

But amid all this darkness, there is hope! The Good News is that Jesus came to “heal the brokenhearted and set the prisoners free!” But to gain this freedom and life offered to all of us by Christ, we must learn to fight for it, with and through Him (Mt 11:12, 12:29; Jn 10:10; 2 Cor 10:3-5; Eph 6:11-12; James 4:7).

Along these lines, a good buddy and I recently had the privilege of ministering this free­dom in Jesus to a mutual friend whose life and marriage was experiencing the fallen-world pattern we described above. Below is a portion of his email response to us, after our weekend together and a week back home with his wife and family:

“… WOW, GOD IS STILL WORKING MIRACLES! PRAISE TO HIS NAME! THIS WEEK HAS BEEN SIMILAR TO A NEW HONEYMOON. MAN, WHERE HAVE I BEEN ALL THESE YEARS?! My prayer as we start life over is that I can remain steadfast to the task of living from my heart and laying my life down for my BEAUTY. PLEASE PRAY FOR ME AS I PRAY FOR YOU BOTH. MAYBE WE SHOULD MEET EVERY WEEKEND?!”

Our Father is so good! Thank you for your prayers and partnership in mission which makes this ministry possible.

Rich and Kimberly Hagler

* Paraphrased from John Eldredge’s book, Waking the Dead, which is an excellent re­source on the subject of Freedom in Jesus

Thanks Rich & Kimberly for your lives and ministry. They are a part of Summit Fellowships and you can check out more here

One of our friends in Portland, Oregon recently sent out a letter that I wanted to pass on to you…

FREEDOM IN JESUS

In the second film of The Lord of the Rings trilogy-The Two Towers-there is a king who is reluctant to go to war. Theoden is fearful and timid. But an army is marching through his lands, an army bred for a single purpose: to destroy the world of men. Villages are falling all around him; women and children are being slain. Still Theoden balks: “I will not risk open war.” “Open war is upon you, whether you would risk it or not,” Aragon replies.*

When I (Rich) first heard these words, I almost exploded out of my seat. “That’s it,” I thought, because they perfectly describe so many of us. Believers and unbelievers alike, who unknowingly are living in the midst of a brutal and vicious battle with the world, the flesh, and the devil, and yet will not go to war. Why this deception? Because either we don’t know there is a battle, or have been told we don’t have to fight for our freedom in Christ. It’s both sad and chilling.
Yet into the midst of this war-torn, fallen world, the Father sent His Son, our Savior Jesus declaring:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-20).

The Father has been graciously leading Kimberly and me into an increasingly deeper understanding of what Jesus meant by this “Good News.” He wasn’t just proclaiming these words to the masses. His mission was to incarnate them experientially into His needy follower’s lives, as we see throughout the gospels.

To us, this Good News recognizes our need for intimacy with Jesus (discipleship), life-transformation, healing, and deliverance. We are seeking to allow Jesus to do His work in and through us, as we minister to those who so desperately need the life-changing power of the Gospel. Let us describe the fallen-world pattern we’ve seen unfolding among those the Father is sending to us in our church planting ministry.
Frequently, we are meeting with people who have life-dominating problems. Food, drugs, sex, alcohol, sickness, idolatry, fear and anxiety, abuse, co-dependency, perfec­tionism, stress, compulsivity, passivity, broken marriages and relationships, unforgiveness and bitterness, hopelessness, and despair, to name a few. At base level, these are people like you and me, broken from the battle to varying degrees.
But in the fallen-world pattern we are seeing time and again, these presenting prob­lems are symptoms of even deeper, crippling wounds from their past. Damaging life events, sometimes chronic in nature, that have led to wounds of rejection, abandon­ment, betrayal, abuse, and neglect, often inflicted from their family-of-origin or other close bonds.

Left unaddressed, these wounds give rise to faulty belief systems, as people struggle with lies about themselves, other people, and God. Lies like “God doesn’t care about me,” “I’m no good,” “No one could love someone like me,” etc.
From lies like these, vows are made. For example, “I’ll never trust anyone again,” “I’m so dirty, that I will never be free,” “I’ll be so perfect on the outside, that no one can question what’s on the inside.” The apostle Paul calls these broken places “strongholds or footholds” (Ephesians 4:26-27), that give Satan and his demons a measure of influ­ence, bringing oppression and affliction into our lives (Romans 6:16).

The results are damaged, broken people. And it’s because of these dark, unhealed places from our past that we develop reactive sin patterns and dysfunctional coping skills to dull and medicate the pain. And it’s here that the life-dominating problems we noted above come into play.

But amid all this darkness, there is hope! The Good News is that Jesus came to “heal the brokenhearted and set the prisoners free!” But to gain this freedom and life offered to all of us by Christ, we must learn to fight for it, with and through Him (Mt 11:12, 12:29; Jn 10:10; 2 Cor 10:3-5; Eph 6:11-12; James 4:7).

 Along these lines, a good buddy and I recently had the privilege of ministering this free­dom in Jesus to a mutual friend whose life and marriage was experiencing the fallen-world pattern we described above. Below is a portion of his email response to us, after our weekend together and a week back home with his wife and family:

“… WOW, GOD IS STILL WORKING MIRACLES! PRAISE TO HIS NAME! THIS WEEK HAS BEEN SIMILAR TO A NEW HONEYMOON. MAN, WHERE HAVE I BEEN ALL THESE YEARS?! My prayer as we start life over is that I can remain steadfast to the task of living from my heart and laying my life down for my BEAUTY. PLEASE PRAY FOR ME AS I PRAY FOR YOU BOTH. MAYBE WE SHOULD MEET EVERY WEEKEND?!”
Our Father is so good! Thank you for your prayers and partnership in mission which makes this ministry possible.
Rich and Kimberly Hagler

 * Paraphrased from John Eldredge’s book, Waking the Dead, which is an excellent re­source on the subject of Freedom in Jesus

Thanks Rich & Kimberly for your lives and ministry. They are a part of Summit Fellowships and you can check out more at http://www.summithome.org/

Famous football coach Vince Lombardi once said to his team in the locker room after some sub-par playing, “Gentlemen, this is a football.” What Coach Lombardi was speaking to was clear–to carry out our assignments, we must understand and succeed at the basics.

The basic building block of life is DNA. As we watch CSI, we understand that you can tell where someone was when you get a little tiny hair from them…because it contains DNA. We* have co-opted the initials DNA to be an acronym for the basic building block of church life.

Divine Truth

Nurturing Relationships

Apostolic Mission

Divine Truth
Where God intersects with humanity and sheds light on who we are and what reality is—both in the spiritual world as well as the material. It is a union of both human and divine but without any blemishes. It is the Word—both in the person of Jesus and the Scripture.

Nurturing Relationships
A building of spiritual family and brotherhood (brethren if you please) based on a love relationship with our Father and His Son, Jesus.

Apostolic Mission
By “apostolic” we mean sent. That’s what the word originally means “sent one.” The church is to be a sent agency, not a sending agency. Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, so send I you.” (John 20:21)

So we want to make sure that our life springs from this building block> the interlocking of Divine Truth, Nurturing Relationships & Apostolic Mission. We want these to be present in us as individuals, as groups, as house churches, as a network of house churches and beyond.

We see this represented in Jesus’ “Great” teachings:

Divine Truth—The Great Commandment: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. (Mt. 22:37-38)

Nurturing Relationships—The Second Greatest: Love your neighbor as yourself. (Mt. 22:39)

Apostolic Mission—The Great Commission: Go and make disciples of all the nations. (Mt 28:19-20)

This is a football…well…a return to the basics…what does the Spirit strike up in you as you pursue balance in the basics?

*This is from the Organic Church Planters Greenhouse Story 1 Training (c) 2001 by Paul Kaak and Neil Cole/CMA Resources.

Famous football coach Vince Lombardi once said to his team in the locker room after some sub-par playing, “Gentlemen, this is a football.” What Coach Lombardi was speaking to was clear–to carry out our assignments, we must understand and succeed at the basics.

The basic building block of life is DNA. As we watch CSI, we understand that you can tell where someone was when you get a little tiny hair from them…because it contains DNA. We* have co-opted the initials DNA to be an acronym for the basic building block of church life.

D ivine Truth

N urturing Relationships

A postolic Mission

Divine Truth
Where God intersects with humanity and sheds light on who we are and what reality is—both in the spiritual world as well as the material. It is a union of both human and divine but without any blemishes. It is the Word—both in the person of Jesus and the Scripture.

Nurturing Relationships
A building of spiritual family and brotherhood (brethren if you please) based on a love relationship with our Father and His Son, Jesus.

Apostolic Mission
By “apostolic” we mean sent. That’s what the word originally means “sent one.” The church is to be a sent agency, not a sending agency. Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, so send I you.” (John 20:21)

So we want to make sure that our life springs from this building block–the interlocking of Divine Truth, Nurturing Relationships & Apostolic Mission. We want these to be present in us as individuals, as groups, as house churches, as a network of house churches and beyond.

We see this represented in Jesus’ “Great” teachings:

Divine TruthThe Great Commandment: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. (Mt. 22:37-38)

Nurturing RelationshipsThe Second Greatest: Love your neighbor as yourself. (Mt. 22:39)

Apostolic MissionThe Great Commission: Go and make disciples of all the nations. (Mt 28:19-20)

This is a football…well…a return to the basics…what does the Spirit strike up in you as you pursue balance in the basics?

*This is from the Organic Church Planters Greenhouse Story 1 Training (c) 2001 by Paul Kaak and Neil Cole/CMA Resources.

PS. Several of us from Ohio had opportunity to be at a gathering in California last week. I wanted to share with you some of the notes from Leadership in Organic Church Planting Movements- sponsored by CMA Resources Check out the notes here

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