5 Questions About…Mentoring

Do you have friends who you look forward to spending time with because they are just. so. much. FUN?  Heather is one of those people in my life.  I know whenever we get together the ideas will be exploding like confetti and laughter will punctuate our conversation.   She is the discipleship pastor at the National Community Church in D.C. – one of the most vibrant and innovative faith communities I know.  Heather has also written two books, Community is Messy (about small group ministry) and Amazed and Confused (about Habbakuk).  You should check them out!

HZ.20131.  One of the things I admire about you is the way you build into others around you.  How did that come to be a value in your ministry?

I don’t think there was one catalytic moment; it was just a slow process of recognizing the way that God was working in my life and taking note of where I was feeling most fulfilled, seeing the most fruit, and having the most fun. I was captivated by 2 Timothy 2:2, realizing that the only investments we can make that truly last are the investments we make in other people.  Growing people grow people. I’d rather grow people than manage programs.

2.  Can you tell about an experience you have had with someone who built into you and what you learned from it? Continue reading

Tucking in Courage

“She tucked belief right into me.”

A few years ago I read this lovely line written by Ann Voskamp who was talking about a grandmother who called out gifts in her that she was afraid to believe.

In my life, belief has been a synonym for courage.  Like a toddler at night, with Mama tucking covers tight, I’ve had many snug courage right into me and our family.

When our youngest daughter, Maggie, graduated from college she accepted an internship with the International Justice Mission.  She prepared to leave home and live in Guatemala City for a year.

The transition between college and “the real world” is a scary one.  Like jumping off a cliff and hoping you hit the water and remember how to swim.  A time of hard decisions and what-if-I-don’t-make-it fears.

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To launch Maggie into this new season, we invited a group of women for brunch.  Women who had loved her, and prayed for her, and poured into her for many years.

I asked each of them to bring a word for Maggie, accompanied by a blessing, a prayer, encouragement, or advice. Continue reading

The Most Brilliant Investment You Can Make

Those who know me know I am NOT a money person.  I’m not a good budgeter.  In fact, I don’t even have a budget. (gasp!)

I’m generous, but not particularly responsible.  I don’t understand what a “short sale” is, and I’ve never done my own taxes.

Once a year when John and I meet for lunch with our financial advisor, Jay, my eyes glaze over unless he uses the silverware and cups and plates as visuals to try to explain the state of our finances.  Note to Jay: Cartoon characters would be helpful as would talking fruits and vegetables.

A couple of years ago, though, I got super excited because I had always really wanted to try my hand at the stock market and the guys said, ok.  I was sure this was my ticket to the promised land of limitless generosity, and, let’s be honest, a limitless clothes budget.

So, I asked a friend who’s a whiz in this area and excitedly bought 500 shares of a stock that I was assured would do great (because it was “diversifying” – my new stock word).  I put the “stock tracker” app on my iphone and was thrilled as I watched it go up and up and up.

Around that time I was in a worship gathering focused on Micah 6:8 “He has shown all you people what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

And in addition to high-lighting the needs around the world, they suggested a lot of ways to respond and bring the kingdom – the world that God desires, like back in Eden before we messed up.  Where everyone has justice and all the hungry are fed and all the thirsty have clean water and everyone cares about everyone else.

In what I felt was a moment of divine inspiration I thought, “Aha!  My stock!  My vibrant, up and up stock!  Before I know it, it will earn enough for me to buy a well!  It’s Yours, Lord, all Yours!  Clean water for people who need it!  Bam, done!”

That was in early April 2010.

On April 21st, we awoke to the news of the BP oil spill and my up and up stock went down and down

And SERIOUSLY down.

Yep, that’s my stock.  BP.  And I was like “Um, Lord, did You miss the ‘It’s all Yours‘ prayer?  Do you not want kids in Africa to have water?  What’s the deal here?  I was down with being part of the ‘Your kingdom come’ plan!”

What do we do when we invest time or money in something that we think is of God, for His kingdom, and it just doesn’t work out the way we anticipate?  The way WE plan?

The passages that I read in the Bible about the kingdom of God are filled with weeds and stones, and pesky birds, and delinquent workers and some imagery I don’t fully understand.  It’s not all easy-peasy “Occupy Garden of Eden.”

But here’s the important thing I see over an over again.

We’re told to invest in kingdom stuff no matter what.  The stuff that makes the world more like heaven on earth.  No matter how crazy or hopeless it seems.

You may be a kingdom-bringer serving, in your cafeteria or a courtroom, or on Capitol Hill, or in Congo but never see the eternal dividends this side of heaven.

And there’s the outer kingdom that we can see, where justice is restored and the hungry are fed, but there’s another kingdom to be restored.  This inner kingdom where we’re on the throne and we need to hop down and let the true king take His rightful place and transform our character.

Maybe I thought I was investing in the outer kingdom, bringing water relief, but God wanted to invest in refining my inner kingdom, allowing me to be in a position to trust Him and His ways when I don’t understand.

If it’s a kingdom investment it’s a good investment, seen or unseen.  The Lord reminds me with 1 Cor. 15:58 “…be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

What are some of  the (even little) ways you’re investing in (or SEEING) the outside/inside kingdom of God?