Upward, Outward: Missional Community.


36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew22:36-40NIV

Epidemic…
A friend of mine has traveled extensively and spoken to numerous pastors and church leaders. As a result, he’s discovered there is an epidemic. It seems there is a vacuum in many hearts; the vacuum is often discovered when believer’s feel / sense there must be more to life than what they are living. They may be encouraged to pray, worship, journal, read books, attend conferences, attend church or meditate upon scripture to fill their void. In reality, the vacuum they are sensing may be a purpose deficit.

All inflow, with no outflow, creates a sick heart. You and I were created to flow outward, to do good works.

Eph 2: 8-10NIV
  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 

We are saved by grace through faith not by works. However, we are His handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.

Good works don’t save us, good works reveal us. 

If you and I are not giving our lives away by serving others… somewhere we, at our core, are purpose impaired.

The below diagram illustrates:

                                                                                                                                                            

Upward:Give. Upward:Receive. 
Everything in life flows from our connective relationship to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Everything. He is the source of our identity. Knowing Whose we are enables us to draw near with confidence.

In Him, we live and move and have our being. Our heart connection is so important. We draw near, and He draws near to us. His promise is true. 

All life flows from our relationship with Him. We draw near to give: to give our hearts, to give our lives, to give our worship. 

I give my worship because He is so worthy, so gracious, so loving, so forgiving. 

It’s amazing… as we give, we often receive. (I personally believe we receive more than we are aware when we spend time in His  presence.) 

What we receive is a by-product of our worshipful giving. I give my time, I give my life as worship. He, in turn, pours His love and grace into my heart. When we receive, we then have something to give. Knowing Him, I can then make Him known. (I John 1:1-9)
                                                                                                                                                                 
Outward:Give. Outward:Receive. 
The great Investor invests into our lives so that we are built up, and have something to give away to others. 

He gives us love, joy, hope, faith, grace, power, talents, giftings, gifts, and passions for others. 

As I make Him known, through active love and service, He in turn, gives something back… a sense of destiny, a sense of purpose, a sense of fulfillment.

It’s in the very act of giving, laying our lives down for others we receive. We receive encouragement when someone is genuinely encouraged and cared for through our service. We also can sense God’s favor as we give away what we have received. When we bless others, we are blessed.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

My friend Shana has a new photography business. She decided to dedicate 10% of what she earns to help people in need. Yesterday, she went shopping for groceries and toiletries. She then headed up to Trotwood to deliver the groceries and supplies to women in crisis. She stayed awhile encouraging the women and children. 

                                                                                                                                                                       
Here is a snippet of her story.
 “There are days when my envy for what others have makes it hard to breathe and others when my heart aches for what others do not. Every day I work hard to be a humble servant, putting others ahead of myself in my relationships and in my business. All the money in the world would mean nothing to me if I couldn’t help others.
Today was hard and beautiful all in the same, I was able to gift a car full of groceries to the Mustard Seed Foundation in Trotwood, a home for teenage mothers. These girls are facing challenges on so many levels and I am so thankful this home exists. I was greeted with warm smiles and big hearts and I left behind a little goodness and grace.” 

Her passion intersects with God’s purpose.  

Her passion:To care for people. Her purpose:Release her creative gifting to care for others, both in her chosen profession as a photographer and giving to people in need.

Guess where her tank is filled? Shana’s life passion is connected to her life purpose. She genuinely cares for her clients and for the people in need in her community.

My wife teaches literacy enrichment.  
Her passion:Child development. Her purpose:Teaching literacy. 
She wants to love the kids as Jesus loves. She has done this well. She is loving, creative, joyful, kind and open hearted. Guess what? Kids love being with her. Her love for Jesus overflows in creative teaching.


  Note: Both are not “full time” church workers. They are full-time Jesus followers.

Where does your passion intersect with God’s purpose?

                                                                                                                                                               
Together:A Missional Community.

When we, together, worship, love, serve and care for others we become a missional community; a community on mission. 

I’ve heard it stated, “If you pursue community you may develop community, but you may not be on mission. However, if you(all ya all), as a group of people, pursue mission you will form a community.”

Upward:Give. Upward:Receive.

Outward:Give. Outward:Receive. 

Upward:Give. Give thanks and praise for what He did in you and through you and through… all ya all. Community on Mission=Missional Community.

If it doesn’t work … It’s probably American.

 
It’s been a good two weeks. I’m in Warrington, England with my friends Mike and Jane. They were pastors of a church I helped plant in Scotland. They sold everything and moved to Warrington a few years ago to plant a new generation church called Oasis. 

Oasis is amazing. I love the energy, the way people are encouraged, and how they reach out to the community. Many of the people who now attend were reached, met Jesus, were then baptized, now are disciples and function as band members, creative arts people, outreach participants or serve in other ways.

One of my Bible college professors stated, “If a principal works in any culture it’s God. If the principle doesn’t work in any culture, it’s probably American.

Serving their city works.
Oasis serves the community mainly through acts of kindness. They have served the people of the city from day one. In this culture nothing is free, and there is always a catch. When people receive a small gift, a coke on a hot day, a small bag of treats, or chocolate to celebrate Warrington people are impacted. The simple acts of kindness reaches the heart. They ask questions. Many receive prayer. Some meet Jesus then begin to attend Oasis.

We’ve gone out to the main shopping area in the town center. As we’ve served more than one person asked, “What’s the catch?” We were able to share why, have great conversations, and pray with people. 

One day the police came down after seeing us serving on CV monitors. Their response, “Oh, it just Oasis.” 

I prayed for a police woman. I simply stated, “I’d like to pray for your protection. Would that be ok?” She replied, “Thanks that would be nice.” We prayed for her. Invited angels to be with her. Declared protection over her. We declared she’d have eyes to see and ears to hear and God’s presence would be near her.  We noticed her smile, gratitude and genuine up beat response. “I’m protected now. Thank you.”

One lady who had pain in her back was shocked when her pain level moved from an eight down to a two. Most people we prayed for encountered the love of Jesus through the  presence of the Holy Spirit.

Several people mentioned they would like to pop in and check Oasis out. 

They have a family service at 11am. At 6 pm a new generation service starts. This service is mainly made up of 20’s and 30’s. The style is fun, upbeat and has an amazing house band who lead worship. Last week there was a tangible sense of God’s presence as we worshiped.

Since I’ve been here there has been a shift into prophetic encouragement and prayer. People are now stepping into the next phase of outreach. As they pray for people they are receiving insight, knowledge and encouragement for the people they serve. This connection to the Holy Spirit is wonderful to see and experience. 

Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson wrote a best selling book The Externally Focused Church. My favorite line from the book. “Good deeds, creates good will, which opens hearts to the good news.” 

Oasis … They are serving their way into the hearts of people… Tiz working in Warrington, England.

This is what Pattie and I do. We encourage, and in return we are encouraged. If you’d like us to come to your church or support us in prayer of giving. Simply click Invite Steve or Donor Box link.

Revival Streams

Noticed … there are many Revival streams… all are different… 

some don’t like to mix with other streams… 
some think their brand is the only brand… 
some like to mix… 
some are loving… 
some are antagonistic… 
some believe signs and wonders… 
some do not… 
some think helping the poor short term is a waste of time… 
some think, long term helping the poor out of poverty people, don’t care about immediate need… 
some think acts of kindness are pathways to peoples hearts…. 
some think acts of kindness are a marketing tool with no power… 
some think empowering people for life style evangelism is the way… 
some think big meetings is the way… 
some have the attitude our way is the only way… 
some believe prayer… 
some believe action… 
Many believe their version of the gospel is the right version…
I could go on forever…

I wonder what would happen if we laid down our stones, and rejoice however the good news that leads to revival is proclaimed?

Do you feel the mountains tremble? 
Delirious?

Did you feel the darkness tremble

When all the saints join in one song

And all the streams flow as one river

To wash away our brokeness.

Open up the doors and let the music play
Let the streets resound with singing

Songs that bring your hope

Songs that bring your joy

Dancers who dance upon injustice.


Philippians Chapter 1 NLT

(Philippians 2 pretty well describes our should be attitude.)

Paul’s thoughts on the matter.
I pray that your love will overflow more and more,
and
that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.

For I want you to understand what really matters,
so that
you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.

May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy
and rivalry.
But others
preach about Christ with pure motives.

They preach because they love me, for they know I have been appointed to defend the Good News.

Those others
do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ.
They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me.

But that doesn’t matter.
Whether their motives are false or genuine,
the message about Christ is being preached either way,
so I rejoice.
And I will continue to rejoice.

I wonder what Jesus thinks?
I think I’ll take Paul’s advice and rejoice and continue to rejoice.

Papa’s got this…





Why?

Why we are transitioning.
Over the last few years we’ve had a stirring in our hearts to step into what we have been called to. Primarily our gifting is expressed through encouragement, equipping people in the practical how to’s of outward focus, and encouraging leaders. After long a season of hidden-ness we have emerged knowing we must fully embrace what He has given us and begin venturing beyond the Vineyard.

What? 
We will be heading out in June.
Equip, model, train and release people into everyday missional lifestyle. 

This would include developing and encouraging people for a lifestyle of practicing naturally / supernatural expressions: hearing God’s voice, prophetic insight( seeing differently / becoming aware), radically responding, healing-connected to loving well and how to develop bridges into a community.

Travel to encourage leaders, churches, organizations and missionaries, and to teach train, encourage, impart and activate outwardfocusedness.

How?
Build relationships with friends, leaders and organizations. Receive invitations, and / or travel to places of need.

Over the last few years we’ve tested the process. Leaders and missionaries in particular, really need to experience the Father’s care and love though a person.

I traveled to England, Scotland and Ireland. We also traveled to be with a few leaders and churches in the USA with the express purpose of encouraging leaders / staff with no other agenda than to spend time and bringing encouragement. 

Our investment in Brooksville FL, Vineyard Christian Church, was very encouraging both to the staff and the key leaders.


It’s amazing to watch what happens when a leader discovers they are the agenda, and then realize they are on the Fathers heart. 

I’ve also discovered that three to four days is about the right amount of time for the process to flow. 

During our time together we spend time with the leader / leaders, flow with their agenda, and allow space for encouragement. We speak on Sunday’s, or during a session with staff, or have a night or two of training. (This is optional and would only step into this arena if invited.) 

A couple of years ago I traveled to Costa Rica. On the plane I received a name. I later found out he was a key leader for South America.  His countenance visibly changed as he began to tell his miracle story as we walked through his church building.

If possible I will always travel with Pattie. I will travel with an intern or a leader.

Timing is everything

We are simply taking one step at a time.

Our transitional process has been interesting.  
See my post: http://stevebowen.blogspot.com/2016/02/im-noticing-current-common-thread.html


Transition is simply moving from one place to another, or shifting from one stage in life to a different stage, or leaving one season by stepping into another season.


Transition also inherently has moments of panic, belief, encouragement, let down, disappointment and faith. In the end, it’s all about trusting a good, good Father. He is in control. He is behind the scenes working His kind intention according the counsel of His will. 

His will, according to His kind intention…
 His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.
Eph 1:9;11 NASB  

How you can help?

Please pray with us as we move forward. Pray for a smooth transition off staff, and that the transition would be well received by the church. Give thanks for unlocked doors.


Believe for resources, and for key people would emerge who would travel with us. Most internal travel would cost around $1000 per trip for two. External travel would vary, ball park would be $2500 per trip taking another person. The funding is mainly for travel expenses and for blessing the leaders with meals, putting gas in their cars, leaving a monetary gift etc. We are seeking to be a blessing, not draining people’s energy, time and finances.


If you would like to support us financially for living expenses, or for travel you can give to Steve Bowen / Eyesoutward.

or you can give direct by Paypal see link top of sidebar..