Friday, February 15, 2008

Small Groups Exploring The Wide Open Spaces

“To this day that is what it takes to hold the church together. It is the community of interrupted lives, where we come together to confess our stories and search for God’s purpose.” Craig Barnes, When God Interrupts

I love this quote! It describes at least one dimension of what it means to be the church. We are a place where people gather together, share stories, and try to make some sense of our interrupted lives.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a tool to help us do that? That is my intention in posing reflection and discussion questions at the end of each chapter in The Wide Open Spaces of God. Through the book and these questions, I want individuals and small groups to discover the intersection between their story and God’s story.

One friend wrote me after she shared the eight landscapes with her ministry team. She said that after they shared, “I heard some things about what they are going through that never would have surfaced otherwise.”

Please consider reading The Wide Open Spaces of God to gather your community, tell your stories, and search for God’s purpose.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Land Between

This weekend I spoke at a conference in Austin, Texas. One of the messages I gave was from a chapter in my book, The Wide Open Spaces of God, called The Land Between. This landscape describes times in our life when we are in transition. We are somewhere in the middle between an ending of something and the beginning of something else.

Here’s an excerpt from my book:

We Struggle to Accept the Timing of Transition
“Transition has an innate time frame, a speed (or lack of speed) at which it travels. Every transition we go through will require a certain pace in order to process and profit thoroughly from the time. What we discover in these transitions is a pull in one of two directions: we either delay transition by holding on to the past or try to speed up transition by moving on too quickly.” (Pg. 179)

A picture came to mind as I was preparing to speak. I thought of what it is like to float down a river in an inner tube. The best way to travel is simply to let the current carry you. But sometimes you get hung up. A fallen limb gets in your way or you hit a sand bar. At that point in the “transition” it’s like you are holding on the past, trying to remain where you are, and letting the current move on without you.

Sometimes, instead of trying to hang on to the past, you try to move along too quickly. You become frustrated when the current is moing too slowly. You begin to paddle feverishly, trying to move yourself along. At that point, your primary goal is to get to the other side.

Having been in transition for the last couple of years, I can attest to both temptations. This image of floating down the river is helping me discover the best posture for “going with the flow”—something I don’t do very naturally.