One Prayer

I believe the One Prayer series can change the way churches around the world unite as “The Church.”  Without a doubt, we’re praying for the opportunity to use this teaching in our ministry in London.  Follow this link for more exciting information.

You Need Like-minded Friends

It was extremely fulfilling to spend the day with like-minded people this past week.

Bobby & Kevin from LifeChurch.tv were in town and we drove up to Leeds for a visit with Mosaic Church, Leeds and then back down learn about Milton Keynes Christian Center.

The conversation in the car reminded me of why LC has so much success.  Bobby & Kevin both bring excellent thoughts about how a church can reach the lost.  Much of this comes because a.) they have experienced the launch of more than 10 different LC locations, b.) they have not been afraid to try innovative approaches to ministry such as satellite broadcast of the message or the Internet Campus, and c.) they bring a great perspective since they were both successful in the business world before they came to LC.

We got to meet with Matt and Chris from Mosaic Church.  Lunch at the Pizza Express was a great time to hear about their approach to ministry to the up and coming city of Leeds.  They are already in a great building that will be able to serve them well and are ministering to over 300 people at just 3 years old.

Dinner was in Milton Keynes with Mark and Billy from Milton Keynes Christian Center.  They are leading a growing church and trying some excellent ideas to continually reach new people.  It is great to hear from people who could sit back and feel that they have arrived but they want to continue to stretch themselves and their church to reach more people.  /Mark & Billy – thanks for the great introduction to Indian food./

Our trip was a great reminder to spend time with like-minded people.  You will be energized and excited by the ideas you can come up as you simply discuss the thing that you are passionate about.

Chris

Faithful 'Crammed Into Churches' in London

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7321128.stm

Numbers

While it’s truly not all about numbers when it comes to church, I am one to say that proof is often seen in results.  Check out this neat update on the Internet Campus’ latest results.

Housing Update

We’ve had 5 showings on our flat and are praying it’s let out before we leave April 8.  Please pray along with us that our landlord returns one month’s rent (we had to pre-pay through May 6 since we didn’t have visas or a local bank account) and our deposit to us.

We met a wonderful family in our local church who’ve been refurbishing a home near theirs.  This home is a good fit for our family and less expensive than our flat per month.  At the moment we’re working to provide everything this family might want to feel secure we can pay rent and believe we’ll be living there upon our return to England in late May.

There’s a local school near this home that has generously agreed to accept copies of our visas sent from the US in early May as a means of application for Blake to attend year round starting June 2.

It’s very comforting to see loose ends being tied up as we prepare to head back to the US for training!

China lifts block on BBC site

While I admit it’s a far cry from other sorts of oppression out there, I find it surprising that for years now (even though the government hasn’t acknowledged it) this has been happening.  (See below.)

dlb

___________________________________________________________________________________

Tania Branigan in Beijing

Chinese authorities appear to have lifted a block on BBC’s English language news site after years of restricting access.

Internet users realised during last week that they could read the news coverage, although not the Chinese service.

Previously users in China who tried to access the news site were redirected to an error message stating: “The connection was reset.”

Beijing has never acknowledged blocking access to the news site and has made no comment on the apparent change in policy, which appears to have taken the BBC itself by surprise.

“It comes in with no problems or proxy … even with a rather large report about his holiness [the Dalai Lama],” wrote one web user.

Others suspected its availability might only be temporary, with one noting: “I doubt it will last, but refreshing to see.”

The timing is intriguing given the anger of officials – and many Chinese web users – at the way the western media have portrayed the unrest in Lhasa and provinces with a large Tibetan population. Even articles about the protests are available from China.

http://www.guardian.co.uk

Attachment

While waiting for our daughter’s international adoption to be completed in 2006, I spent a few months researching attachment between parents and children. It was time well spent, yet connecting with Mackenzie for the first 12 months was a daily challenge. While Mackenzie now has with each of us a strong bond and true comfort in our presence and provision for her, I hope never to forget the lasting lessons God taught me through our experience in her adjustment into our family.

I believe that each of us as believers in Christ is at one of the basic attachment levels in our relationship with God. Review the list below I found at http://psychology.about.com and see where you might fit in regarding your connection to God.

Characteristics of Secure Attachment

  • These children feel secure and able to depend on their adult caregivers. When the adult leaves, the child feels assured that the parent or caregiver will return.
  • When frightened, securely attached children will seek comfort from caregivers. These children know their parent or caregiver will provide comfort and reassurance, so they are comfortable seeking them out in times of need.

Characteristics of Ambivalent Attachment

  • Ambivalently attached children usually become very distressed when a parent leaves. (…or even appears to be unavailable, I might add. When God seems distant, do you look around in worry and take matters into your own hands?)

Characteristics of Avoidant Attachment

  • Children with an avoidant attachment tend to avoid parents or caregivers. (Do you avoid God or allow an activity or habit to take His place in your life?)

At the risk of beginning a debate on parenting practices (truly not my intent), I want to focus primarily on humans’ tendencies to attach in relationships in a way that protects them from harm. Even Mackenzie (when only 17 months of age) realized she’d been removed from her foster family when placed with us and went into survival mode. She refused to look at us, stopped eating, quit walking and talking (even though we spoke to her in her language), and did not want to be held. The only comfort she’d accept was a blanket we were able to keep from her foster home. She loves her blankie!

Like any parents, we let her have her blanket the majority of the time. Yet we began noticing that she sought her blanket and continued refusing our attempts to comfort and love her. Research taught us this is not healthy behavior after months at home. We continue letting Mackenzie have her blanket many times throughout the day, yet when it became clear she was running from us for the sake of avoiding our help, we held her and she relaxed in our arms as she remembered she likes being with her parents. True breakthroughs are on those days she seeks kisses for boo-boos, runs to us to dole out hugs (she calls them ‘huggles’), and sets down her comfort object sometimes to run into our arms. Don’t miss my point – the blanket is not a problem unless it’s used to replace the lasting love and security she has in her parents.

All that being shared, as I rejoice in Mackenzie’s growing trust in me as her mother, I have noticed that I sure like the comfort of having a snack whenever I feel bored. My mind sometimes begins to wander and I decide I must be hungry, I suppose! I think I sometimes avoid spending moments with my Heavenly Father and fill that time with other things I’ve told myself over the years bring me comfort. I’ve allowed myself to forget on occasion how time with the Lord can be more fulfilling than a candy bar. I’m wondering lately just how many times I’ve ignored His promptings and headed to the kitchen instead. Knowing well the pain of being rejected by a child whom I love but who did not yet love me motivates me to change.

Let me ask you whether you have a ‘blanket’ of sorts you turn to routinely. Work, sex, TV, food, alcohol, volunteering, and the Internet are all things we can use to waste time meant for God. Can we trust that time spent in God’s presence (even if we don’t know why we’re seeking Him other than to avoid our habit) is worthwhile? Yes. My example of courage in handing over trust in an object and putting faith in my Provider is Mackenzie. Let each of us drop our soothing habits and seek Him boldly instead. May we fearlessly surrender to a whole and healthy relationship with Him.

Part of Something Greater

Last Friday Chris, Blake, and I attended a Good Friday multi-sensory service in our local church in which we were invited to worship through music, photos, activities, and the arts.  An artist in our congregation sketched a drawing on a blank canvas that those of us who attended the service were asked to paint on.  We had a basic drawing to use for inspiration, but each of us used our own interpretation to paint.  (Click on the link below to see the congregation’s work taking form.)

Over the course of two hours’ time, there’s no telling how many hands the brushes passed through.  The finished product is truly beautiful and full of individuals’ unique expressions.   Approaching the canvas with only thoughts of poor previous attempts to paint on my own, I was surprisingly pleased to take part in something that transformed into a beautiful work of art now on display at the church.

Do you feel inadequate in some endeavor in your life right now?  Do you remind yourself how incapable you are to achieve anything in this particular role each time you step up to the plate?  Take heart.  Trust that the final product will reflect God’s plan as He works through you and those on your team.

http://danabyers.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/100_0718.jpg

another blogger's thoughts

I (nearly) always appreciate a good wake up call.  Check out Scott Rodgers’ post on symptoms here.

When God Shows Up

Today our local pastor spoke about the Luke passage in which Mary, Cleopas, and one other person were on the road to Emmaus and didn’t recognize Jesus as He spoke to them in His resurrected body. The pastor said we too often miss Jesus when we don’t look for Him to appear in places we assume He simply wouldn’t be.

Most weeks during the 9am GMT Internet Campus service we encounter people who’ve stumbled across the chat room or opportunity for live prayer and try to derail things by making inappropriate sexual comments. Routinely I am asked by people for live prayer only to find once we’re in the conversation they have other intentions.

Today was different, though. God showed up in a way I never expected. It took me awhile to see He was there at work, but I am humbled by His presence in a situation I’d misjudged. A man in India began our live prayer chat inappropriately, seeking a relationship with a woman online. I was ready to simply close down the prayer request and avoid the man’s attempts to interact with me, but then God showed up:

God: Dana, I want you to tell this man I love him.

Dana: But he’s a pervert, Lord. He gives me the willies.

God: I love him just as much as I love you, Dana.

Dana: How can I tell him you love him when I’d like to kick him where it counts?

God: Just tell him.

Through the leading of the Holy Spirit, our conversation was redirected into his sharing with me about his work and family and asking for prayer. He’s married and has two sons. I was able to pray with him to honor his marriage and he even thanked me. God really showed up today in a place that can become frustrating and I didn’t expect to see change in.

In the Luke passage, the women weren’t expecting to see Jesus because they knew He’d been pronounced dead just 3 days earlier. It took Him reviewing Scriptures with them and sharing a meal with them for the women to realize He was there in their presence.

Is there some area of your life today you don’t expect God to work in? Do you feel God won’t show up in your stale marriage? Certain God won’t be revealing Himself to your loved ones who aren’t saved? Are you convinced God will not help you get out of debt? God will show up, indeed. Blake has reminded me a few times this week that Jesus even forgave the thief at His side as He died. The Holy Spirit reminded me this morning that Jesus died for a lonely married man seeking a relationship online. God showed up in their lives – He will show up in ours.