Friday, January 27, 2012

Light A Candle And Fly

I often tell people I feel called to stand - to live - as a bridge between the “Candle Lighters” and the “Jet Fuel Drinkers”. What do I mean by that?

·     Candle-lighters are the quiet, steady-paced, somewhat solitary, somewhat mystical, focused-on-the-now, Spirit-aware, Presence of God-sensing Spiritual Formation types.
·     Jet-fuel-drinkers are the loud, fast-paced, somewhat solitary, somewhat fanatical, focused-on-the-future, Spirit-aware, Presence of God-sensing Leadership types.

I love these two groups deeply; they have each formed me in their own way, and I deeply believe the cause of Christ, the Kingdom of God, the blessed community, depends upon them both. In fact, though they often speak very different languages, they need each other.

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Mindy Caliguire (@mindycaliguire)
Transformation Ministry Team, Willow Creek Association
Founder, SoulCare (a Spiritual Formation Ministry)

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Power of a Welcome

Welcomes are conveyed in all different ways; with a smile, a word or a touch.  A smile expressed to a passing stranger as you’re walking to work can convey gladness in the moment.  A ‘hello’ to the checkout person at the grocery store can turn what would otherwise be a dull routine for that person into a refreshingly joyful moment.  A handshake as a way of greeting a business associate at the start of a business meeting conveys contact and a willingness to engage.  

All of these simple expressions are congenial ways to welcome people into a small space of time in our day – these times make up much of life.  In fact, I contend, that it is in precisely these times that the overall quality of our lives are expressed each day.  The way you treat people in the everyday, mundane events of the day that reflect who we are in Christ.  Moreover, how we express that love toward others and how welcoming we are as individuals as we live in this earthly home is a living testimony of Grace. 

Paul wrote in the Book of Philemon, “I always thank God when I am praying for you, dear Philemon, because I keep hearing of your love and trust in the Lord Jesus and in his people.  And I pray that as you share your faith with others it will grip their lives, too as they see the wealth of good things in you that come from Jesus Christ. I myself have gained much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because your kindness has so often refreshed the hearts of God’s people.”  Philemon 1:4-7 TLB

As Christians we are encouraged to be hospitable people.  Offering hospitality (home stay) to a fellow Christian on their journey is, in a very practical sense, a powerful way of extending oneself for the sake of another. 

Toward a practical end, giving our fellow co-laborers in Christ a place to rest whilst undertaking ministry travel encourages them to be good stewards as their travel expenses are reduced.  But the real power comes before the guest even arrives when we lift up the traveler in prayer and ask for God’s will to be done in the life of this person while they are there for the conference or church visit. 

The JOY comes from participating in and experiencing God through what happens over these few days.  Perspectives are opened.  Visions are cast.  Life is purposeful.  Missions are formed.  Friendships made… all through the power of a welcome.

Karen Frisella

Monday, January 16, 2012

God Of The New

A new year is upon us and with it comes the anticipation of what lies ahead.  As Christians we live with a future hope.  We look forward to God's redemptive work as he “makes all things new” (Rev 21:5).  What are your hopes and desires as you move into this new year?
At Willow Creek our desire is that we can continue to develop new and creative ways to support, inspire, encourage and equip you in the mission that God has called his Church to.  We are looking forward in the next few months to sharing with you the ways that we will be doing this through 2012.
Along with some new initiatives we are also looking to some new ways of engaging with you.  We will be looking to enhance our online engagement, both in regular communication and in training opportunities.  We also want to offer you more extensive access to affordable resources and training opportunities.   So keep an eye on your email inbox.
Planning for this year's Global Leadership Summit is already underway, and with nearly 1000 people already registered we are looking forward to seeing what God will do through this event.  We are planning on expanding our locations into more regional centres this year, and continuing the development of more Australian input as part of the Summit. 
We serve a God of the new and we look forward in this New Year to hearing the stories of the new things that God is doing through your ministry as we partner with you.
Andrew McCafferty

Friday, January 6, 2012

Developing the Leader Within – Tapping into The Core

Found this fantastic post by Dr Bill Donahue and wanted to share it!

Dream Risky Dreams
Erwin McManus, author of Wide Awake: The Future is Waiting Within You, says “Great lives that are born out of great dreams often come through great sacrifice and great suffering.” At the core we have longings…but at the core we also know suffering and fear. But suffering and fear can be crippling to a leader, unless there is a dream emerging from that dark, intimidating place.

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