When Ordinary People Lead…

This past Sunday a few UT students who went through Student CPx back in August hosted a “joint simple church gathering”. They wanted to bring the other simple churches from their relational networks together for a time of sharing what God has been doing in Austin through these various lay-led churches, as well as hear from some students who had taken trips overseas during the winter break.

What you see represented in the pictures above and the videos below is the fruit & result of the obedience of students living out the Gospel being the Church. Yes, this entire gathering was student organized & led. Most of the SC’s displayed here represent the actual local churches these students belong to. They are seeing much fruit through the individual communities as they step out in faith to obey God. The coolest part is that there were NEW BELIEVERS at this gathering who have recently made decisions to follow Christ! One of them will be Baptized by another student this Friday!

It is so important to recognize what happens when the works of scripture are lived out by ordinary people. (lay-people, students, new believers, unpaid, non-professional, etc.) The growth of the kingdom and spread of the Gospel is no longer dependent upon how much money exists, where we “meet”, who will “lead”, how “big” are the projects, etc. When a 20 year old college student realizes they have “permission” from Jesus to go make disciples, Baptize them, and watch as a new community of faith (church) is birthed it sparks something very powerful. When several students come to this realization it marks the beginning of a movement…

I captured some little bits of the evening with my phone – let us imagine together this scenario multiplied in homes & cities across our nation!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

At Intentional Gatherings we seek to equip, & release ordinary believers to live out their full potential in the kingdom of God. We do that in many ways. Whether it be a Student CPx Training, involvement in a new simple church community, or just walking through real life with someone from our team, the desire is not to build or grow a church or organization. Success in our organization is based upon spiritual transformation in the lives of individuals whom God places in our lives. Spiritual transformation is measured by those individuals ability to hear God’s voice, and be obedient to that voice (No matter what that looks like-yes, even if it means they don’t “join” our org., or one of our churches). Essentially, we want to disciple in such a way that leads to the empowerment of those disciples to go make more disciples. It’s been a long journey thus far, but we’re excited about what God has done, and will do in the days to come.

Lord, may you continue to release your children into the harvest to fulfill the Great Commission! We are available to You, and earnestly desire Your Spirit to sweep across our city and nation!

“The Art of Being Wrong”

“When we are wrong Jesus is right – it’s redemption in action.”

“You see, if we are never wrong about anything then that means Jesus isn’t having to make us right in any areas of our lives…we hinder His redemptive work in us.”

American culture (and human nature) screams that we must never, ever, ever, under any circumstances admit that we are wrong…about ANYTHING, ever. Whether it be a petty decision we made, statement that slipped out, or a huge life decision that did not go as planned, we seem to have an inability to recognize that we just might have been…WRONG. Is it really so bad…to be…WRONG?

I have determined that we, as humans, need to learn, practice, and perfect the art of being wrong; not when we are not wrong, of course. = ) Perhaps our default should not always be that we ARE right, and could not possibly be wrong. Maybe we could re-program our default to be that we quite possibly could have made a better decision.

“When we are wrong Jesus is right – it’s redemption in action.”

“You see, if we are never wrong about anything then that means Jesus isn’t having to make us right in any areas of our lives…we hinder His redemptive work in us.”

We allow our upbringing, traditions, and personal preferences to get in the way of being wrong all the time. These things cripple us from growing into the people we need to be; the people God desires to build us into. Over the past two years it has become increasingly freeing to let go of things I have done to realize they may be wrong, and could be better in. It hurts at first, but the end result is a more perfect you.

In marriage, our spouses have been placed into our lives to sanctify us by the Holy Spirit that lives within them. When we refuse to ever be wrong we disregard that truth, and hinder our own personal cleansing. In our lives as believers we are so certain we are right that we miss out on things God is trying to teach us.

This also plays into how we “do ministry”, church, etc. My friend Neil Cole directs an organization called CMA. In their organization they have what they call a “wall of shame”. On these shelves resides years worth curriculum, strategies, and plans that they had to retire due to their ineffectiveness. They were willing to accept that those things were…wrong. They put them on the shelf, and began striving for better. Of course, it was painful to retire the resources that took so much time, energy, and money to create. However, the end result was so much more beautiful than the tragedy that would have followed had they insisted on being right.

We could go on and on with examples of how this plays into our lives, and negatively affects us. I am not suggesting that we be ok with being wrong all the time, or become insecure in everything we do because we “might be wrong”. I am simply suggesting that we have a much looser grip on our pride that insists we are incapable of making a bad decision…otherwise known as…SIN. If I never realize, and accept the sin in my life because of pride or not wanting to be wrong I refuse to allow anything in my life to be redeemed.

“Jesus, continually reveal to us where we are wrong. Allow Your Spirit in us to more quickly recognize these wrongs so we may invite Your Spirit in to bring us back into alignment with Your Kingdom. If we neglect this longer we continue to shout with our actions that Your work on the cross was unnecessary, and that we do not need it. Set us free Jesus, and remind us of the permission you gave us to be wrong when you died for the fact that we are sinful.”

I leave you with two definitions…

Redeem: Compensate for faults, or bad aspects.

Redemption: The action of saving, or being saved from sin, error, evil.

“iSCPx’s” UNLEASHED!

Back in October Jesus gave the national elder team the task of taking the vision of SCPx & Simple Church Planting to 13 cities all over the country. Our desire was to see groups of students who have heard about SCPx, & what God is doing through student/simple/campus church planting join us for a time of sharing stories, hearing the vision, & joining the movement. From Southern California all the way to Florida God has been bringing together like-minded students and mobilizers to continue to build His church through the vision of SCPx. We are excited about what God is unleashing already through these “iSCPx’s”, & what He will fulfill as the summer roles around into the 4-5 SCPx’s that will be taking place this summer.

As Brad & I spent time in San Diego & Los Angeles for “iSCPx” God did a mighty work creating a sense of National Spiritual Family among existing student church planters in those cities.

Down in Orlando, Florida with our friends Thomas & Lian Day we joined a group of passionate students to share with them the movement that is taking place as students step out to make disciples and Baptize other students on campus.

Yesterday in Austin the past SCPx Austin grads helped facilitate a powerful time of story-telling of what God has done in the past 8 months since their time at SCPx. The room was full of excitement as we shared about SCPx coming up in August in Austin. However, they were all so pumped about what God might want to begin starting TODAY in their lives to prepare them for SCPx this summer. We ended with a time of impartation to one another through the Holy Spirit. Lies of the enemy were destroyed, the weight of performance & idolatry were melted away by the power & freedom of Jesus, & students were unleashed to pursue obedience to Jesus in His most basic command-making disciples of all nations, Baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Jesus, we praise you for what have done so far, and beg for MORE MORE MORE as the remaining “iSCPx’s” take place in the various cities in Jesus’ name.

Here’s some pics from Austin yesterday:

Austin+IG+Snow=adventure

The Snow family is finally settled in Austin! As many of you know this is the third city for IG to extend to through long-term, physical presence. While here we have a two-fold purpose on local level:

1) To make new disciples in our apartment community, and watch as the Holy Spirit births a new faith community (Simple Church) right out of the harvest!

2) To continue mentoring, discipling, and pouring into the students here in Austin who went through Student CPx back in August. They are continually seeing God move in powerful ways as they seek to make disciples & birth new faith communities on campus at UT. We’ve already had a chance to re-connect with them and begin discussing what this relationship will look like…

Of course, we will continue pursuing everything that God is doing through IG on a national level as well…

At our National Gathering of Student Church Planter’s in St. Louis in January…

Where we saw a student Baptize another student in the hotel pool!

This is a busy time for us as a family, and IG as an organization. Along with the SCPx National Elder team we are doing “iSCPx” in 13 cities nation-wide in the Spring. I have already been to San Diego, Los Angeles, & am in Orlando right now.

(Brain Orme, Aaron Snow, & Brad Mckoy in San Diego for iSPCx)

(The Orme’s – part of the team in SD where we’re hosting a SCPx this summer!)

We’ll host one more “iSCPx” in Austin next weekend to conclude our 4 cities. (The rest of the team will cover the other cities). This is an exciting time for our organization as God is building His Church in fresh/new ways. We are blessed to be a part of it, and grateful for those of you who support us on this journey.

Orlando & Austin…

As you know we have planned “iSCPx” (Intro to Student Church Planting Experience) in 13 cities across the nation during the Spring. We’ve already made it to SoCal, and I will be heading to Orlando this weekend to be with our team there for “iSCPx Orlando”! The following weekend we will be here in Austin with our awesome group of “SCPx grads” from last summer. They will be helping me host “iSCPx Austin” here on UT’s campus! See http://studentcpx.org for info about the other cities! God is moving across the nation!

(Details for “iSCPx Austin” below)