Mission Monday Reources

Hey all. Mission Monday has taken a hit the last few weeks due to schedule issues. I’ve got some resources for people today.

This year has thrown a group of us into a wild adventure with God. A small group of us separated from our previous church and came together to see what the Lord had for us. Through this we started meeting at a local park to reach out to a nearby apartment complex, and thus the Outreach Saga was born.

I’ve been spending time on the internet looking for resources to help us understand this journey and the new way we feel Jesus is leading us. We’ve stumbled by accident into a way of doing things that has been called organic church or simple church. We’ve gained a heart to really see people discipled in Kingdom ways. So here are some resources that I’ve found to be helpful in our six-month adventure.

Alan Knox is a PhD student in theology who writes very gracious but challenging posts on New Testament practice and how it relates to modern church practice.

Frank Viola is a prolific author. He has written numerous books and keeps up a daily blog. He’s written a lot about organic church but has moved to a fuller study of the person of Jesus. His book, Jesus: A Theography is on my Christmas wish list.

A book recommended to me a year ago became very helpful when we started this summer – The Forgotten Ways by Alan Hirsch. It is a thoughtful challenge to the body of Christ and a book that I would highly recommend.

I’ve followed CMA Resources on Twitter and found many encouraging links and articles posted through their work. They have a whole training setup there for people interested in organic church.

Neil Cole is associated with CMA Resources and is another frequent author passionate about organic church and seeing multiplication of disciples. His book Church 3.0 was another intriguing read with some practical advice for those investigating this way of doing church.

The Verge Network has a subscription required for premium content, which I haven’t done yet. Still, there have been free videos released from the likes of Francis Chan and Neil Cole that have been challenging and exhorting for the church to really reach out.

I’ve begun to pay attention to the blog Church In A Circle. Would it be better for the body to interact in a circle than with one person in front speaking to a bunch of rows? That question and more on organic church is discussed here.

There’s a wealth of wisdom and insight above. I hope if any are curious about what we’ve doing will check some of those out. I believe God can use any church for His purpose, from a traditional style of meeting to one that meets in a park with a free-flowing format. It is up to us to be sensitive to what the Holy Spirit is saying to us and be willing to take risks for our Lord Jesus. That’s my prayer for all of us in the coming year.
Hope this helps!

If you have any feedback on this, please share below!

Pre-Conference Jitters

In one week I’ll be at the airport.

It’s time for the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in Dallas. This is my first writing conference, and I’ve already shared some resources I’ve found while preparing.

One would think that with all the advice on the web that there wouldn’t be nerves. Ah, who am I fooling? We’re human, and anytime we do something wildly different it will create anxiety. I’ve been working on a novel for a long time. It’s finally to a point where I feel comfortable going and seeing what happens.

So, if you’re like me and worried about what to expect for your first conference, here’s a few more posts I’ve found circulating the net while procrastinating preparing for take-off.

Mike Duran says chuck the check list but pack the deodorant.

Agent Karen Ball gives her two B’s for the conference. Scroll to the bottom of her post, and you’ll find several other helpful links. One of them I’ll link specifically, from Tamela Hancock Murray for the ACFW 2011 Conference with the helpful title of Conquering Conference Jitters. So you can read that post, or jitter away. The choice is yours.

Maybe I’ll see you at the conference. If we’re lucky, we won’t end up like the unfortunate gentleman below.

True picture of a n00b at the ACFW conference last year

Art House America

I’ve been a fan of Charlie Peacock and his music since I first found out about him in 1991 (sheesh, that sounds long ago…). His music is intelligent, creative, risky, and often has a great beat to dance to.

He’s taken his love of God and his artistic nature and fused into something that sounds pretty special. The Art House is the ministry in Nashville with his wife Andi where they host artistic types of all kinds and nurture them in creativity and faith. It has spun off to a physical location in Dallas as well, plus the internet home at Art House America. You can find out more of their vision on the About page.

Not all of us will get the chance to go there (though I’m holding my breath). The website has articles from thinkers on subjects of artistry (music, books, film), justice, creation care, and hospitality, just to name a few. I really enjoyed an article by Andi on raising artful kids, from her perspective as a grandmother. Neat stuff there!

I encourage my creative friends to check out Art House America. Maybe God has something to speak to you from there.

Art House America

I’ve been a fan of Charlie Peacock and his music since I first found out about him in 1991 (sheesh, that sounds long ago…). His music is intelligent, creative, risky, and often has a great beat to dance to.

He’s taken his love of God and his artistic nature and fused into something that sounds pretty special. The Art House is the ministry in Nashville with his wife Andi where they host artistic types of all kinds and nurture them in creativity and faith. It has spun off to a physical location in Dallas as well, plus the internet home at Art House America. You can find out more of their vision on the About page.

Not all of us will get the chance to go there (though I’m holding my breath). The website has articles from thinkers on subjects of artistry (music, books, film), justice, creation care, and hospitality, just to name a few. I really enjoyed an article by Andi on raising artful kids, from her perspective as a grandmother. Neat stuff there!

I encourage my creative friends to check out Art House America. Maybe God has something to speak to you from there.

Bible Study Resources

The best 9 month investment of my life was spent reading a book 5 times.

Back in 1995 (getting farther all the time…) I was privileged to go to the School of Biblical Studies through Youth With a Mission in Canberra, Australia. Yes, we basically read the Bible five times through those nine months.

We learned the Inductive Bible Study method, which places an emphasis on learning the literary and historical context for the book of the Bible one studies, and reading the text and listening to what it says. It is contrasted with Deductive Bible Study, where one goes to the text with a preconceived idea and tries to find support for it in the Bible.

Those nine months did more for me in grounding me in the Word, and was invaluable to this day. Now I have found that it can be a resource for anyone.

There is a website entitled “The SBS Podcast” that gives downloadable teachings from some of the key leaders in the SBS system. You can download them directly from the site, and you can also subscribe to it through iTunes.

I highly recommend this resource for foundational Biblical study. There are topics from the Trinity, to Israel in New Testament times, to specific teachings on books of the Bible. I have a longtime personal friend as one of the teachers, and Ron Smith, who runs the SBS program within YWAM, has been a Bible teacher and author for years.

Oh, and the best thing: it’s free.

I encourage anyone interested to check out this great free resource for the Body of Christ. YWAM’s motto is, “Know Him and make Him known.” One of our best ways of knowing God is through His Word.

Bible Study Resources

The best 9 month investment of my life was spent reading a book 5 times.

Back in 1995 (getting farther all the time…) I was privileged to go to the School of Biblical Studies through Youth With a Mission in Canberra, Australia. Yes, we basically read the Bible five times through those nine months.

We learned the Inductive Bible Study method, which places an emphasis on learning the literary and historical context for the book of the Bible one studies, and reading the text and listening to what it says. It is contrasted with Deductive Bible Study, where one goes to the text with a preconceived idea and tries to find support for it in the Bible.

Those nine months did more for me in grounding me in the Word, and was invaluable to this day. Now I have found that it can be a resource for anyone.

There is a website entitled “The SBS Podcast” that gives downloadable teachings from some of the key leaders in the SBS system. You can download them directly from the site, and you can also subscribe to it through iTunes.

I highly recommend this resource for foundational Biblical study. There are topics from the Trinity, to Israel in New Testament times, to specific teachings on books of the Bible. I have a longtime personal friend as one of the teachers, and Ron Smith, who runs the SBS program within YWAM, has been a Bible teacher and author for years.

Oh, and the best thing: it’s free.

I encourage anyone interested to check out this great free resource for the Body of Christ. YWAM’s motto is, “Know Him and make Him known.” One of our best ways of knowing God is through His Word.

Writing Resources – Day 7

I’ve pretty much done with my discussion of writing resources. Concerning websites, I could go on and on with places I’ve gone for inspiration or information. Solshine7 wanted to point out Light for the Writer’s Soul as a good site. I haven’t checked it out yet, but I will be indeed.

There are two more books that I thought I’d mention. The first one is Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn from Actors by Brandilyn Collins. She was on my list of website resources. She studied the Method Acting technique, and applies it to developing well-rounded characters. I started the book, but it got pushed aside during a busy time and I’ve yet to start over (apologies BC!). This is a unique angle and worth checking out.

Another book is by James Scott Bell, who happens to have a pretty good site for resources himself. He also contributes to the Charis Connection writers’ blog. He has a book in the “Write Great Fiction” series titled Plot and Structure. Again, this was a book that was started, but busyness forced it aside. Bell gives a lot of helpful advice on his site, enough that I could recommend his book (also from what I read).

On an opposite note, I want to give a word of warning. For a time I was a member of the Writer’s Digest book club. It seems like a good deal, and there are various books there that may meet needs you have (I do enjoy my Roget’s Super Thesaurus that I got through there). They just happen to be the type of book club that you have to return the little card or they automatically send you a book. I got burned once this way, and they seem to be about producing numerous products that can feed the great desire of writers to improve and eventually publish. Some of them seem a little superfluous, and I just want people to watch what they’re getting into. I am not anti-Writer’s Digest book club, but I won’t avail myself of their services again.

Ultimately, we can read all the “how-to” books we want to, eventually we have to DO the writing if we’re going to get anywhere. I need this encouragement too! Hopefully this was helpful. Now go put it into practice!

Writing Resources – Day 7

I’ve pretty much done with my discussion of writing resources. Concerning websites, I could go on and on with places I’ve gone for inspiration or information. Solshine7 wanted to point out Light for the Writer’s Soul as a good site. I haven’t checked it out yet, but I will be indeed.

There are two more books that I thought I’d mention. The first one is Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn from Actors by Brandilyn Collins. She was on my list of website resources. She studied the Method Acting technique, and applies it to developing well-rounded characters. I started the book, but it got pushed aside during a busy time and I’ve yet to start over (apologies BC!). This is a unique angle and worth checking out.

Another book is by James Scott Bell, who happens to have a pretty good site for resources himself. He also contributes to the Charis Connection writers’ blog. He has a book in the “Write Great Fiction” series titled Plot and Structure. Again, this was a book that was started, but busyness forced it aside. Bell gives a lot of helpful advice on his site, enough that I could recommend his book (also from what I read).

On an opposite note, I want to give a word of warning. For a time I was a member of the Writer’s Digest book club. It seems like a good deal, and there are various books there that may meet needs you have (I do enjoy my Roget’s Super Thesaurus that I got through there). They just happen to be the type of book club that you have to return the little card or they automatically send you a book. I got burned once this way, and they seem to be about producing numerous products that can feed the great desire of writers to improve and eventually publish. Some of them seem a little superfluous, and I just want people to watch what they’re getting into. I am not anti-Writer’s Digest book club, but I won’t avail myself of their services again.

Ultimately, we can read all the “how-to” books we want to, eventually we have to DO the writing if we’re going to get anywhere. I need this encouragement too! Hopefully this was helpful. Now go put it into practice!