Catch some passion from Andy Hawthorne today.

If you’re a preacher, this is a masterclass in how passion persuades.

It’s hard not to grow a church that reaches people far from God and helps them find their way back when you have someone like my mate Andy Hawthorne in it. In fact – there is nobody like Andy!

I get to have breakfast with him most weeks and he’s one of the people who inspires me to GO FOR IT, by the way, he’s speaking at Ivy Kingsway this Sunday am.

I don’t want you to miss out on connecting to this passionate, uncompromising and gifted man whose charity The Message does so much great stuff he’s been honoured with an OBE.

Watch this video, you probably won’t need to turn the volume up. Below it is what I take from this PASSIONATE talk he gave to a national Youth Workers a couple of weeks ago– watch it here:

http://www.message.org.uk/2014/05/20/restoring-hope-andy-hawthorne-at-yws14/

So…

Keep Mission central. Not only mission – EVANGELISM! PREACH! Preach the cross! To bear MUCH fruit. Not just loving people, of course we do that but we have to tell people the way TO heaven and out of hell.

And that’s COSTLY! But if we are red letter Christians we have to say what he said about now and eternity.

Do we believe this any more? The only thing that counts, the only thing TO count, is disciples!

If we don’t proclaim the gospel – who will?!

The Holy Spirit will come and bring CONVICTION. Don’t we want righteous young disciples?!

Step out! If they don’t hear it, they won’t have hope restored.

John Wesley: social reformer AND he said ‘You have nothing to do but save souls!’

William Booth: ‘Not called to evangelism? Put your ear down to the Bible and hear him call you – to go….’

Let us build rescue shops within a yard of hell!

Churches On The Verge Of Movement – @alanhirsch at #exponential

I’m glad I didn’t post this immediately as I made the notes so it doesn’t come out with the flurry of other posts I made recently. This one needs some marinade time. My friends Alan Hirsch and Dave Ferguson wrote ‘On The Verge’ a little while back and it’s a game changer. At only £3.99 on Kindle now it’s a bargain as Alan’s theological and cultural awareness combine with Dave’s practical savvy to make a book that theorists can’t just theorise over – and practitioners can’t wait to practice. 

on-the-verge-book

I have read the book several times privately then picked it apart as part of a Learning Community set up by Dave Ferguson of New Thing as I prepare to step further into birthing ‘New Thing UK’ – working to create a church planting movement and identify, train and release apostolic leaders across the UK and Ireland.

It was great to hear from Alan a refresh on some of the main ideas, and my notes on his brilliant seminar follow; 

 

THE MISSIONAL CONVERSATION are you part of it?

You can make decisions now that will alter history, as long as you don’t leave it too long. We are a missional people. SENT.

If you want to know what it’s like to be unchurched/ dechurched go to visit a mosque.

Don’t make them do the missional work. We are to go to them!

There was a time when the church was in a place that if people were looking for God they’d come to church. That day’s long gone. But we still play the game as if it was that way.

 

Who do we need to change the church?

The 16% who are Innovators and Early Adopters;

People who feel there is something to be gained from thinking entrepreneurially. If you’re going to argue the toss over everything, you won’t be part of this.

But if Holy Discontent is what drives you….

 

We have to see that it’s Adapt or Die time.

There are very few growing denominations. Do you know of any? (NOTE: Actually I do, the Evangelical Free Church in Sweden, soon to be led by my friend @Norburg)

 

The best way to pass on tradition is not to wear your father’s old hat but to reproduce – new children. How? Church planting.

You need to make decisions now about what kind of church you want your kids to be a part of.

Future Travellers Process;

1)   SEE IT.

Capture imaginations. This is the first thing. Epicetus ‘It is hard to teach a man what he think he already knows.’ People THINK they know what church is. But the early church didn’t have steeples and choirs. They met on riverbanks and caves. The paradigm is vital.

The brain seeks for patterns to make meaning. And we as a group agree a paradigm, how it looks to us. Cf the Old woman/ young girl picture. When you can see one you can’t see the other.

Constantine is still the emperor of our church thinking. You don’t have permission to think differently in Christendom.

The alternative to it = movement. Movements are dynamic, changing, growing. It’s there in the Celts, in China, in early Methodism. Primal. Impacting.

It takes courage to see differently!

2)   SHIFT .

Code the system for change. How do you change paradigms? A sense of anomaly develops. Thomas Kuhn (maths – ‘The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions’). When the best practitioners of a paradigm say, ‘Yes… but – the way you’re looking at it doesn’t answer all the questions…’ then you bust the paradigm.

The others get together – and eject the old paradigm. Then they defend the new one! And so on.

The fish doesn’t know its wet.

You have to see – things – change.

New Thing (the church planting movement I’ve been challenged to spearhead in the UK and Ireland) are planting a new church every 10 days in USA. After 7 years they are at 50,000 churches – and they double every year. That’s a movement.

Look at / assess/ audit the ETHOS. The CULTURE. The Guiding story.

The church is wired to grow and change the cosmos. What’s stopping it? Ask – what’s blocking growth? E.g. – ‘What are you doing with the women?; In any movement that ever changed the world, women were fully engaged. Then you remove what’s blocking growth.

Check and change the LANGUAGE. Who’s your hero? If it’s Barth – you become a theological church. If it’s the nurse who crosses the street and sets up a homeless shelter…

Look at your branding. A good brand is a promise kept. Do you keep the promises you make? If not you ruin the brand.

Check Practices. That’s what brings the culture. The soul of the place. You can feel it. Some churches you feel ‘Oh no, I can’t do things here.’ And there are others where it’s free.

KEY leaders need to define the reality. The leader is the key to open the door. This is conceptual and irritating. Not everyone will do it – or needs to.

In Myers-Briggs terms, most people are S not N. So they ACT their way into new ways of thinking.

So you need to create some PRACTICES that help people do the new culture (eg. BLESS).

McDonalds don’t let the 18 year old make it all up. They coded it. That’s a bit too far, but we need to form habits.

3)   INNOVATE!

4)   MOVEMENTUM – The flywheel effect as Collins describes it. It’s hard, then it gets going by itself.

The greatest resource, is the people. Dave Ferguson. ‘Lead with a Yes.’ Trust people. They want to change the world!

Every believer is a potential church planter. In a seed is the potential follower. Every believer has the potential. The 12 were not the A team. But it wasn’t a professional show, it was a movement.

This stuff is pulled out in detail in the book On The Verge. Get a copy. These guys are Jedis.

 

 

 

 

The Ultimate Secret Of Prayer. Brother Luigi #LC14 ‘Fuel For The Fire’

Unknown

Notes from seminar at HTB Leadership Conference: 

 

Basic law of Christian prayer –
It is already there before you start.
When you realise this, you are praying
It’s like breathing: with you always

When 17 his faith has come alive and he’s trying to start to learn to pray

Started with 5 mins
Added 5 a day

About half an hour – it was wonderful
But then the house was empty

After a while his brothers spoiled it

So, he’d sit in a chair
Read
Get a word
Repeat it

But then a younger brother bangs on door
Now he’s angry
And guilty
So he gives up

By the end of the week – he goes to confession, where he learned the lesson of his life about prayer

About a man who was imprisoned for years, yet surrounded by pain and noise, out of that – he learned to pray. The monk then told him:
‘The test that a prayer is authentic is that you learn to turn it into prayer. Any scrap of wood is good fuel for the fire!’

Obstacles to prayer?
I’m stressed
Angry
Depressed
Noise

Well what if we prayed out of noise?
It’s easy in a silent monastery
But now he’s in Rome and the tourists come in with no regard that people are praying

So what if we transform the noise so you pray for the people? Anger
Jealousy
Does it have to stop you praying
No – express it to God
Why I am angry
With whom
Isn’t that prayer? Say it to God.

Thank The Lord – it’s prayer!
You find yourself now praying 100 times a day

Never think you have to overcome your frustration first! God is interested in all my feelings and thoughts; good and bad.

When is pain only pain
When is lust only list
When can hatred become a prayer?
Ps 140 tells us it can!
All our feelings are expressed in prayer.
The most poignant cry of pain heard on earth? ‘my God, my God- why have you forsaken me?’ This helps us turn anything into prayer
The ultimate secret of prayer is this:
MY GOD.
I direct it to him.
Risen, he is with us always.
In church, on the bus, in light, in the dark.

CREATING BIG PEOPLE – Clare Chapman at #LC14 – Head of HR at Tesco, NHS, now BT.

pho_board_clare_chapman_large

She became a Christian at the age of 12, holiday club, watching a film about Jonah and the big fish.

 

6 years ago her husband David suddenly died in her arms. Then a voice came ‘You have what you need.’

You never get over it but you can move on.

 

When they first married David wouldn’t believe until he saw concrete proof. He eventually did the Alpha course, where he realised he had been asking the wrong question. He died believing in the resurrection.

 

For many years she had her spiritual life and work life in two separate boxes, but now she sees there’s an ‘here on earth as in heaven’ aspect where the talents you are given, well used, brings great fulfillment.

 

The Parable of the Talents

She struggled with the parable! The servant who buried it suffered wrath. The pursuit of wealth isn’t the problem, it’s when that becomes the reason to be. Values and purpose are at the core of creating abundance rather than addiction.

 

Purpose

To believe in something bigger than the day to day of transactions. ‘Blueprint for the better business’ looks at how to become a force for good. 5 Principles eg

Fairness (Honesty)

Guardian for next generation

Sustainable

What is the purpose of your organization?

 

Tescos learned that for a company to thrive you have to have generous people. Are you surrounding yourself with people who make you feel big and that can do more? Are the people allowed to be big?

 

Balance?

You have to have the Mary/ Martha thing. Busy, and reflective.

She works like a dog in the week, but recharges at the weekend.

Part of the power of leadership is about being in the moment available to step forward when needed.

 

Conflict?

True breakthrough happens when you combine thoughts rather than impose.

 

Meetings

Do NOT use meetings to inform people. There are all kinds of ways to onform people. Use meetings to solve problems.

 

Change

It’s distressing. Remember that it’s not easy. Try not to change structure, but sometimes you have to. Use focus groups to try to find out how to make life better for the customer. People are willing to tell you what you got wrong – you’re wise to listen.

 

People you have to let go? Difficult things?

This comes back to the parable of the talents. One day I will meet my maker and I want to feel proud then of creating abundance and contribution.

 

‘Churches need to be safe places for people to take risks’ said Justin Welby. There is no reason why big change can’t happen with faith and courage. Don’t live with regrets, we have opportunity to do something that goes way beyond us.

 

It is possible to do what I do without being a Christian, but the great thing about being a Christian is you can get up when you fall.

 

 

A Theology Of Leadership: Nurture and Protect for Flourishing. @gtomlin Graham Tomlin #LC14 HTB Leadership Conference

Tomlin_0

The Christian church was born into an era of emperors. You ascended the imperial throne because of seniority, heredity or military glory. Then you could do whatever you liked until unseated by a coup.

 

Before 1949 in Germany Fuhrer just meant Leader. Since the war it doesn’t get used. It’s tainted. Similarly such leaders tainted it for the church.

 

Also for OT – God was king, kings were something to be wary of.

 

For NT – Jesus is only Lord. (Acts 17:7, Rom 10:9, Col 1:18) – HE is the Leader. The head of the church. Supreme.

 

We hear ‘Lead Like Jesus’ – but if that means he’s just an example of a good leadership tip source, that won’t do. He’s no leadership guru, he’s the Lord.

 

BUT God is working for the flourishing of creation. (Eph 1:10)

 

Richard Bauckham ‘God’s secret purpose at work in the whole creation took visible shape in Jesus Christ.’

 

God’s care for creation is exercised indirectly; he chooses a part for the good of all. He chooses us. It’s always mediated. Gen 2:15 ‘work it and take care of it’

 

Work it (enable its potential) nurture

Take Care of it (protect)

 

All mediated:

God’s care for creation – through humanity

For society – through govt

For people – through the church

For church – through it leaders (presbuteros, episkopos, deacons)

 

How does this kind of CHRISTIAN leadership work then?

 

Leadership is BORROWED and never OWNED.

There is one true leader, owner and Lord. (Rom 13 – God establishes it, every single authority so there’s no such thing as a leader – only God’s allowance.) Human authority is derived, not absolute. Never worship a leader!

This is a radical Christian insight. The power doesn’t come from the people.

God is King. We don’t own the leadership. Never forget it.

This extends to those we lead – they are HIS, not yours. Forget that and you’re in trouble.

 

Leadership is a means of DIVINE BLESSING

God wants to bless people through your leadership, so flourishing occurs. This call on us is to be those who work and care. Nurture and protect. Colin Gunton ‘that it may come to be that which it was created to be, that which praises its maker by becoming perfect in its own way.’ Guard from threats, internal and external and also help them realize their potential.

 

 

Leadership requires HUMILITY

HBR listed qualities of leadership; but missed this off the list. It’s seldom spoken of in leadership theory, but if we look at leadership as a stewardship, then we must look for humility. St John Crystostom wrote on leadership in the C3rd, basically saying why he doesn’t want to lead.

The first thing a preacher must do is ‘purify his sould entirely of ambition for the office… train himself to despise praise.’

Cf James ‘Who is wise among you?’ Jm 3:13 – look how you show it.

Look out for the limelight!

 

Leadership creates space to FLOURISH – remade in the image of Christ

The gardener doesn’t make anything grow, just creates space for it to happen.

Protect the plant (can be hard to oppose a negative influence)

Be imaginative.

 

God wants people to flourish and become like Jesus. Good leadership is joining in with that.

 

 

So…

 

Who are you called to lead

How can you nurture and protect them?

Which of these two things do they need most now?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRIEVING and the Battle for HOPE – #LC14 Rick & Kay Warren at HTB Leadership Conference, Royal Albert Hall

rick-and-kay-warren

NOTES FROM INTERVIEW AT HTB LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE 2014

NG – How do you cope when your world is rocked- as it was when Matthew died?

RW – I wish we could be as unified in evangelism as we are in grief. Because there was an outpouring from the Body of Christ. Why can’t we be as unified about the mission?

KW – I will grieve for my son every day until I see him again. But we have to go through it together. This could tear us apart, though divorce is never an option for us.

RW – So we decided to grieve differently, together. Because the stats are against you staying together when you’ve lost a child. So, whatever you’re feeling is okay. Enter into a deeper level of grief.

Easiest death? Godly old people, ready to go
Then death of spouse, death of child, you’re not meant to outlive your children
Then suicide
Some rejoiced and laughed that their son had killed himself. What do you do?
And they are public figures, so they used social media to journal their journey because it would be public anyway.

Kay: I realised I am not alone, there are people grieving every night alone. Why be alone?
People want you to move on, to get over it.
I am not the same person now. Don’t tell me to move on. Unless you’ve held your child’s ashes, don’t give me your opinion.
Take the words ‘at least…’ out, when you’re trying to bring comfort.
‘at least you can marry again’
at least you can have more children’
Because that’s minimising it.

A generation ago people wore black for a year. Now, we can’t see it so easy. But people all around us have ungrieved mourning and bright clothes on.
grief is good.

RW: We want to STUFF grief. Especially men. But it will come out. There is no growth without loss, you’re going to lose a lot. We live on a broken planet. Or you get stuck. You can’t go around it you have to go through it.
Tears are not a sign of weakness but of love.
Matthew said at 17, ‘I know I’m going to go to heaven, why can’t I go now?’ He was incredibly courageous to live with pain.
Jesus wept.

KW: Unexpected learning? How much depressed believers have to teach us. many feel ashamed because the message they get is ‘pray more, confess sin’. Some of them are the most courageous people just to put one foot in front of another. Some people LIVE in the valley, they never walk out of it like the rest of us. We can learn form them what to do when the darkness doesn’t lift. When it doesn’t ever feel good, walking with God anyway.

RW: 1/3 of the psalms are laments. ‘Life sucks, but where else can I go?’ I observed my life and observed the 6 stages of grief.
1) Shock – purely human emotion. Keep waiting for Matthew to walk through the door.
2) Sorrow – it’s a godly emotion, you can
3) Struggle – why?? see it in Job, in Abraham, Jacob – wrestling is a contact sport and that’s fine. But you’re NOT going to get an explanation. It’s like an ant trying to understand the internet. Explanations never comfort. You need the comfort of the Holy Spirit
4) Surrender – I’d rather walk with God and not have all the answers. ‘thy will be done’
5) Sanctification – Rom 8:28 anyone can bring good out of good. Only God can bring good out of bad.
6) Service – 2 Cor 1. The thing that was hardest in your life is the very thing God wants to use as your message. Our greatest ministry does not come out of my strengths but my weakness.

How do you forgive?
When there has been someone else involved. (Someone sold him a gun illegally)

KW – That sits in my soul. But forgiveness is good for me. There are also the Drs and psychologists who let him down badly too and abandoned him in the hospital. How could he do that?
But then I thought of OUR failures. The ‘I wish I had… said… done…’ I was at a banquet i knew that psychiatrist would be there, wanted to cancel, but inside I was so mad, angry. Then I recall Corrie Ten Boom recognising a guard from the death camp. God said ‘You as my child do not have the liberty of not forgiving this man.’
So as she drove, she said ‘God I don’t want to forgive him, but I will – and if I see him I will shake his hand.’

RW – 3 reasons to forgive
1) I have been forgiven by God
2) Resentment makes you better. It only hurts you, not them anyway.
3) I’m going to need forgiveness in the future. If you refuse to forgive you burn your bridge to heaven.

It’s about the battle for hope, he was due to preach about HOPE. Everything on his schedule was about hope. Then he got bronchitis, and the message that was due to preach on the day Matthew died was ‘What to do on the worst day of your life’ – and then it was.
From the day you pray the most dangerous prayer; USE ME, satan puts a target on your back. He’s out to steal your hope.

KW – We had a box full of promises from all his life, and they seemed to have all come to nothing. So I had to say to God ‘please show me how to rebuild hope.’ Now my son was not on this earth. 1 Cor 15;43 These bodies are buried in brokenness but will be raised in glory.’ Now I stand over my sons grave and know his body was buried in weakness but will be raised in strength. Ezek 36:37 ‘All that was destroyed will be rebuilt.’
Eric Little: ‘Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives, but God is not helpless among the ruins.’
Matthew is now running through heaven, restored, and one day his body will rejoin his spirit. God rebuilds ruins. So I am in the process of rebuilding hope.

RW. Anyone who struggles with mental illness needs to know. Your chemistry is not your character. You’re not in sin, Matthew always knew who was in pain in any room. Everything in this world is broken because of sin. There’s no perfect people. So why is it if my heart or liver doesn’t work properly and i have to take a pill for it I have no shame over that, but if I take a pill for my mind’s struggles should I be ashamed? We all have broken brains and broken sexuality. We hold treasure in jars of clay.
What happens if you drop a jar of clay?

We need to remove the stigmas. Of all places the church should be saying to struggling people not just they’re welcome here, but they’re wanted.

Yes God can heal mental illness, but sometimes that has to wait till heaven.

If I could hear Matthew now he’d say ‘You were so wrong, because heaven is so much cooler than you ever described it.’

There are 7000 promises in the Bible, and God has all of eternity, not just my lifetime, to fulfil them!

Rick Warren leaders meeting, HTB leaders meeting #LC14

I was privileged to be invited with a small group of leaders to lunch with Pastor Rick Warren – afterwards there was an ‘Any Questions.’ Here are my notes on his responses. I couldn’t think of any questions so I gave him a hug instead :) 

Rick Warren Rick-Warren-2

We can no longer lead with proclamation, we need to lead with activity ; in the public square. It’s important not to get alienated or partisan.

The local church has to reclaim health care as part of its job. Christians took care of the sick & dying
Why should we help those with mental illness?
Jesus did it – health of spirit, mind and body.
Practically, when the church gets called in to people’s troubles, we better be ready and trained to represent him.

Where do you go for help?
Small groups
Everybody has to be in one:
Meet in temple courts (large worship)
And
House to house
Saddleback has more people in small groups than Sundays.

The Pastor has to model this. Go through life together, I was there when they needed me, and vice versa. And when Matthew committed suicide, they were there in 30 minutes. To show up, and shut up
Not to bring words, but a hug.

Small is better in small groups
4 is better than 6
6 is better than 8
10 is too many.

People join a group for content
And stay for relationship

Don’t try to recruit for relationship.

How do we encourage honesty?
You create greater relationship by walking in humility; not denying your strengths but being honest about your weaknesses.

I used to think I could never say ‘Follow me as I follow Christ’
But now I realise there are no perfect models. So not pretending to be confident, admitting your fears, when people say ‘who do you think you are?’ Wrong question! ‘Who do you think God is’? We are scared, but God wants us to do it
The world is looking for today, in the UK
Is an authoritative message
In a humble personality.
The combination is irresistible

Q: how do we help young people not leave church?

– headline he saw ‘If you love Pope Francis you’ll love Jesus’ The methods change, the message doesn’t
Figure out the keys to the heart- felt needs.
Rick was a worship leader first
I’m inner city LA he wanted to reach the gangs – their key? ‘Who’s strongest?’

So they set up a weightlifting gym
Then there would be bible study
Then they had ‘who is strongest’ competition

Most churches just say ‘take it or leave it’ and they leave it.

Gallup asked the whole world ‘what’s the number 1 need in life?’ A Good Job.
Half the world is unemployed
Whoever helps find jobs and creates jobs gets the hearts.

How do we get more of the church to open their homes to the new people?

Pulpit – the rudder of the church. But you have to say it 7 ways before they get it.

Who you want to reach – put up front. When people walk into your church, the first thing they ask is not a spiritual but a sociological but one. ‘who looks like me?’

Match your greeters to who you want to reach.

Michael Frost at New Thing Gathering #exponential – Aslan on the move!

Michael Frost at New Thing Gathering #exponential

sentralized-michael-frost

 

Only one Australian has ever won the Nobel prize for literature; Patrick White
A brutal, critical hater of the church
in his biography he wrote about how he was with his gay partner of 40 years when he went out on the farm to feed his dogs,

He fell on his backside, covered in mud and dogfood he heard a voice say ‘who the hell do you think you are?’

He thought God was speaking to him.

So he went to church next week with his partner

He went to the Anglican Church and sat at the back, where the Rector was telling people off for entering the jelly bean counting contest and being gamblers.
‘I realised whatever faith I had needed to be a private matter’

And too many churches are putting people like that off or telling them off
Rather than being with them.
Being their friends I
And saying ‘that God who was taking to you, he’s my friend and he wants to be yours too.’

Canada – Another couple of Christians decided to pray for their neighbours every Tuesday night
They moved in and prayed

One night theres a knock at the door
A Muslim knocked on the door
‘Tonight Jesus came and said in a dream go and ask Nigel what I want you to do to help Single mums’

Thailand
A friend was sitting in a cafe
A Buddhist monk approached him
‘I had a vision of Jesus Christ he told me to be here and Paul would tell me what to do.’
He led him to Christ
And He has in turn led 12 other Buddhist monks who follow Jesus.

God is at work
Something is up
God is working beyond the church because we are not sending people out and equipping them
So he says ‘I shall reign wherever I choose even if my people won’t be there’

We need people willing to nice out of the Christian bubble to where he’s already working, in the pubs and among the poor

We Christians have nothing to fear!
Why ?
God is on the move
Cf Aslan on the move.
It’s happening in the nations now, the thaw is happening now!
We are being set free from the frozen place.
God is about raising up an army.
God is winning!
There’s pain and suffering
But those days are numbered
And all heaven is breaking loose !
Get involved!

Don’t escape from reality or look to blame and scapegoat for the problems in the world
It comes from a heart of fear

Churches shouldn’t be fearful places
We should be the most engaged
And involved

Jesus was our scapegoat
We don’t need to blame anyone for your problems
You’re set free
Sent into the world
Not called into an escape pod

God is directing history to its true end
It’s our honour to be part of it.

#exponential Rethinking WITNESS. Danielle Strickland. Lifting The Veil.

#exponential Rethinking WITNESS.

1003 danielle main.ashx

Acts 3:1

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer – at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, ‘Look at us!’ So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’ Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognised him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

 

She was on a plane going to Zambia, and feeling bored. Then 5 women got on with burkhas on, and one sat next to her.

And she said ‘Hello!’ to her. But she didn’t know what to say to her, so like a mad person she asked her, ‘What do you think of Bin Laden?’

 

Then she said ‘I’m with him.’

WHAT??!! You mean he’s on the plane too?!

‘I mean, I’m not against him.’

Why? What have you got against us?

You’re infidels. I just graduated from an Islamic fundamentalist school.

‘Oh wow, we have so much in common! I love evangelism too.’

‘I specialize in converting Christians to Islam.’

OK – give me your pitch

And she was reading to try to remember everything she knew about Islam and then the Holy Spirit said ‘Tell her about Jesus.’

And so she gave her testimony of how much Jesus had done for her since he showed up in her life at 7.

And then the lady said, ‘Would you like to see my face?’

And she showed her face and it was beautiful and smiling and joyful.

Then she said, ‘was I what you were expecting?’

And she wasn’t. That’s not what an Islamic fundamentalist looks like.

 

We have to change the way we see

See who Jesus is

See who people are

 

At the gate beautiful Jesus saw a man nobody else saw as beautiful. The disciples learn how to see people. He lifts the burkhas.

The Roman soldier

The prostitute

The leper

If only we could SEE PEOPLE.

 

People aren’t PROJECTS. Notches on the belt. Could we love people – even if they never converted? Could you share life anyway?

 

What have we done to make coming to Jesus a transaction?

Who are we with our stereotypes?

 

In Hebrews it says when Moses was born his parents saw he was no ordinary child. They saw something.

 

Catherine Booth of the SA used to tuck her kids in at night and say ‘You were born to change the world.’

Lord help us see beyond. How he loves people for who they are now, not just for who they could be. If we could, it would change everything.