Old “BobCast” now posted!

Many of you know that I work part time for http://www.shapevine.com. One of the things that I do for shapevine is what we call live “webcasts” with different authors, and missional leaders. Several months ago I interviewed Bob Roberts, author of “The Multiplying Church” and several other books. Bob is a close friend, and mentor of mine. We captured the last part of the interview. It’s posted below. Feel free to take a watch, and leave a comment about some of the things we discussed…

The quality is a bit crappy…maybe someday i’ll learn how to use Vimeo and upload a nice, clean version.

Word on the Street…

I received this comment through an email from a young guy who has been exploring what it looks like to live in Gospel Centered Community in one of our I.G. families over the past couple of months. This was his response after me giving him a hard time about being so quiet during worship gatherings. It is very refreshing, and encouraging to hear things like this:

“I feel like I’ve been able to mentally understand the core values and purpose of Christianity, but I’ve rarely ever felt spiritually close to God. I can give some theologically correct answers and I try to live by them, but the basis of my action feels more like a rigid conviction rather than an overflow of the love God’s given to me. I see in the I.G. family an authentic heart for God’s people, and I hear stories of the Spirit moving in everyone’s life. So, I figure that most of you have greater experience at engaging God and people in a way that has more depth than mere intellectual explanations. Yet I am unsure of how to make such a thing real in my life. I relate to Kierkegaard in that way.”

The purpose of posting this is not to boast in anything that we have done as an organization, or I.G. Community. We simply feel that the above statement is a beautiful picture of fresh perspective from someone who is new to “organic church”. I think this would have been his/her response to many other Organic/Simple Churches as well…To God be all of the Glory.

1 Year Anniversary & REALationships.

Morgan and I spent last weekend with two of our close friends who live in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. They got married in June, and moved from Dallas to Ocean Springs to help start an Acts 29 church called “Mosaic”. The Lord did something beautiful in each of us over the weekend as we poured into one another, and watched as the Lord grew us closer to each other and Himself. We experienced beautiful community together as we cooked meals, planted a garden, prayed, rested, sharpened, and spoke wisdom into each others lives about marriage and serving Christ with our all.

We planted a garden with the Taylor’s at their new home! Fully equipped with Basil, Cilantro, Parsley, and Flowers!

We drove an hour west to New Orleans and spent some time there.

Lunch at the “Mellow Mushroom”

We all prepared a 5 course meal together, and spent the entire evening eating and drinking to the Glory of God. Beautiful.

Monday, October 20th was mine and Morgan’s 1 year anniversary. After spending the weekend with the Taylor’s they dropped us off in New Orleans at a Hostel. It was RAD. We all have a lot to learn from “hostel life”.

Above: India House Hostel – New Orleans, LA.

Above: On the beach on Ocean Springs…Morgan wrote our wedding date in the sand!

We spent the day touring New Orleans on our anniversary.

On Monday we checked into a little bed and breakfast in New Orleans to rest and relax…

This was a beautiful time of rest for both of us. We had a great time, and enjoyed one another as we celebrated our first wonderful year of being married. Thank you Jesus.

Shapevine.com, Biblical Seminary, & Sharp Minds…

I had the wonderful privilege of spending a few days with Morgan in Philadelphia last week. We were at Biblical Theological Seminary with the shapevine.com team shooting video of a conference that B.T.S. was hosting. The footage will be edited, and packaged into a wonderful training tool for missional leaders. Click Here to see some information about the conference including the schedule and speakers.

One of most beneficial parts of the weekend was a round table discussion that I was asked to video. Lance Ford, founder of shapevine.com, interviewed Scot McKnight, Brian McLaren, Tim Keel, Darrell Guder, and John Franke about their thoughts on important issues regarding the church in America, and it’s mission. It was very difficult for me to focus on filming this discussion. I kept getting distracted by the profound things I was hearing, and will probably have to edit out several “amen’s!” & “come on’s!” & “that’s right’s!” I snuck out my phone during the interview and got a couple pictures…

From left: Brian McLaren, John Franke, & Scot Mcknight

From left: Scot Mcknight, Darrell Guder, & Tim Keel

City-Wide Missional Community Network

Two years ago there was only about one group of people pursuing simple/organic/house church, or what we call “missional community”, in Las Vegas. It was Apex Church. When Intentional Gatherings moved into town we were told by many in the city that we were “crazy”, and that the vision of seeing “MC’s” multiplied throughout the city was “unrealistic”. They said that it “just wouldn’t work in this city”. Since then we have connected with Apex, and met many others who are also on this pursuit of living in tight-knit Biblical Community through the multiplication of simple expressions of the ecclesia.

A few months ago some of the leadership of these organizations got together to discuss what it would look like for us to partner, unify, and cooperate as similar organizations in the city. As a result, the “Vegas Valley Missional Community Network” was birthed. There are now about seven organizations/churches representing 16 different “missional communities” spread out all over the city.

There is an inward purpose, as well as an outward focus behind why this network has been birthed. (Missional – outward. Community – inward) Because of this network, each of our individual organizations now realize that they are a part of something bigger throughout the city. We know, and are affirmed because there are people spread out all over the city who are pursuing the same vision; the same vision that we were told was “unrealistic”. That is the inward focus, which we pray never becomes dominant in this network. The outward focus should be a natural result, or response of each individual community as they pursue life with others centered around the Gospel. The outward purpose of this network is to see “missional communities” multiplied throughout the entire city. Our prayer is that this will happen through the training, and release of apostolic leaders to start new communities where the Gospel is not rooted deeply.

This past Sunday evening believers from the different organizations involved in the Vegas Valley Missional Community Network gathered for the first time to meet one another, celebrate what God has done in their communities, and pray for one another as they are on mission together in the city. Here are some pictures from the evening…

What a beautiful, and God ordained evening. It was the first of many. Thank you to all of you who joined us, and helped out with everything. Until next time…

I.G. Vegas Staying Busy…

I.G. tends to stay pretty busy most of the time. The team in Ft. Worth continues to serve the inner city of Ft. Worth, and we have been rockin’ and rollin’ here in Vegas as well. I will keep this short, and touch on the highlights for now…

I.G. House (Vegas=)

The I.G. House here in Vegas has become a reality. Candace & Lola will be moving into the house at the beginning of November as what we are calling “house hosts”. There will be space available for “interns” in the house as well. MUCH more on this to come…

I.G. Serving – Club Christ

As many of you know I.G. has been partnered with Club Christ Ministries here in the Vegas Valley for quite some time now. Candace Rink, who is a part of one of our I.G. Communities here in the valley is on their staff, and runs the entire North Las Vegas Site.

A few I.G.er’s, and some other Club Christ Volunteers got together yesterday to paint the North Las Vegas Site. It was beautiful to serve with our I.G. “family”, and bless another local non-profit as the body of Christ in the city. This is what it’s all about baby!

From Left: Mike, Wes, Candace, Aaron, Lola

From Left: Lola, Raymond, Wes

***Serving Club Christ over the past 9 months has been a blessing to I.G. Vegas***

I.G. + International Students

We have an amazing opportunity to work with UNLV international students here in Vegas. All Nations Fellowship has been started, and I have committed to serving them in any way that I can. I met with them this past Friday for their weekly fellowship gathering. There is HUGE potential for kingdom growth here. We hope to invite many of these students to be a part of our student simple church training here in Vegas in January. MUCH more on this to come…

Stay tuned in the next day or so for an entry about the Vegas Valley Missional Community Network Celebration Gathering that took place on Sunday, Octover 5th. It was a wonderful success…

May Legitimization & Release Be The Fuel…

In Austin there are some students at UT who are committed to seeing the Gospel spread in a simple/reproducible way that brings light to darkness and life the death. They are determined to learn new, and fresh ways of living out their purpose as the ecclesia in the their city. This has been modeled for us in overseas missions for years, and it would behoove us to learn from these movements.

We must stop practicing evangelism through extraction in our attempts to fill and grow our current institutional churches. Do some people find home in these churches? Absolutely. Will these alone serve as a conduit for the Gospel to spread rapidly throughout the states, infiltrating the darkest places in our culture? Of course not. In our current mindset we are beginning to see many outwardly focused institutional faith communities, which is a beautiful thing. However, even these leave us with only one option if we actually do go into a dark place to reach that area with the Gospel. (Which is very rare for an individual believer, or group of believers to do. We are typically too busy with our “church friends & activities”, and uncomfortable with sin and darkness to do so). That option is to extract a person out of their current circles of influence in order “save them”, and then “church them”. There are many con’s to this form of practice, which I hope to dissect more in the future. So, not only does it remove the new disciple from the places in their lives that they have the most influence, but it also creates a bitterness in the minds of those who remain in that former circle. Those who remain behind are confused as to where their friend has gone, and are now resentful towards the Christian who “stole their friend”.

I am convinced that we must start equipping and empowering believers to take the Gospel into dark places, and plant Gospel roots deeply there. This means that NEW communities/church bodies must take root/birth in that place. This is much different from extracting people from one place, and giving them no outlet to grow other than an “established church”, which is far removed from their previous circles. For this to happen we must have Spiritual Fathers, current Christian leaders, and current local churches who will begin to release apostolic leaders into these cracks of society by legitimizing the birth of new communities of faith that will multiply, and flourish naturally.

The key here is that believers must be affirmed, equipped, and empowered by current “Christian leaders” through acknowledging these new communities as legitimate local churches. A freeing realization I have recently stumbled upon is the fact that in order to begin legitimizing these new communities of faith does NOT necessarily mean we need to DE-legitimize the former. (I believe that many pastors have walls built up towards organic expressions of church because those practicing simple church have sought to DE-legitimize what those pastors are doing. I am guilty of this. This makes it impossible to function healthily as the body of Christ)

May we truly begin to respect one another, and work together as the body of Christ, realizing that none of us can reach EVERYONE apart from the other. In the name of Jesus may we begin to recognize apostolic leaders, and release them to start new communities of faith in un-reached areas. I wonder what would happen if we started recognizing the apostolic call in people’s lives as much as we recognize people’s “call” to “lead worship” on a stage or “teach” an existing body of believers. The focus here is making new disciples, and not simply trying to protect or sustain the only thing we know. Young leaders: be affirmed, be released, be encouraged, and be set free to fulfill the great commission.

I am believing God to raise up Spiritual Fathers to affirm you in your pursuit. However, do not allow the lack of approval, affirmation, and legitimization from current “Christian leaders” hinder you from pursuing what God has instructed for you to do.

Weddings, MC Training, & Good Friends…

Morgan and I spent the past week in Texas; it was a beautiful trip. Our main purpose for being in Texas was to serve our best friends, Jeremiah & Keri, as they vowed their lives to one another in marriage. I got to perform the wedding! (Thank you state of Texas-haha) The wedding was in Austin, and it could not have been more perfect. The Holy Spirit of God ordained their union in every way that I, as a man, could not do. In fact, all I really did was sign a peace of paper to make them “legal” in man’s eyes. They will certainly make a wonderful couple that uses their union to bring Glory to the Father, and growth to His kingdom.

The day after the wedding, which was in Austin, we hooked up with the I.G. Ft. Worth crew for some pizza. It was wonderful to see them all again, and see what God has been doing in and through them since we have moved to Las Vegas. We shared the first few days serving Jeremiah and Keri, and then caught up with one another. This was a huge blessing to Morgan and I.

We stayed with some of our close friends in Austin, the Stewart’s. They are precious, and have poured into Morgan and I in ways they will never know. They have three beautiful children, and are a perfect example of how to raise children who will fear the Lord.

We also had the chance to connect with two other people who have become close friends of ours, the Ramirez’. We are convinced that the four of us were separated at birth. Though we live in different states, the Lord has united us for life. We will serve Christ, one another, and grow His kingdom together from different parts of the world for years to come. Jonathan and Lauren we love you guys.

The week in Texas was busy. On Saturday we also had the pleasure of spending some time with some passionate students who attend the University of Texas in Austin. They are motivated, and ready to start “missional communities” all over UT to reach the lost for Christ. More at that to come…