A few choice words…
There is something about a pathway only partially revealed that is full of romance and mystery and surprise. Sometimes it seems like it would be more secure to have God lay out all the steps so we can see them, instead of following Him step by step, like a child, but that’s not true. When we see a big, broad vision, we tend to set our eyes on the destination and run ahead, but when we don’t have a vision of the future, our eyes are forced to stay on Jesus. And that’s a good thing. Anyone else with me? Recently I have found myself challenged by the Holy Spirit to relish the mystery of an unknown destination again. I’ve come to grips with the reality that he normally only gives me next steps, and that’s ok. There’s a simplicity to not knowing where you are headed, but just obeying as you go.
Have you ever been in a situation where God was telling you to step, but you could not see where you were going? This has been the story of my transformation into really being daily led by the Holy Spirit and also in transitioning into full-time missions. I have been seeing only snippets of God’s promises and direction, while being challenged by wonderful people to perceive and communicate a vision for what God is calling me to as I invite partners into this work with me. But it is really very simple. I am just following Him again into a place that He is telling me to go. He didn’t “reason” me into taking this job. He told me to take it. So my response is simple obedience. In some ways it makes no sense. It seems unwise to the world to leave a salary to live on support, crowdfunded by the global church, but it’s not unwise because the church is ready to give! So…I have done it and it would be a scary thing, indeed, if not for the fact that my Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills, as some of our supporters faithfully remind us.
If you had asked me a few years ago what I would be doing the rest of my life, I would have said I was already fulfilling my calling at my dream job as a university professor (I used to be a very good one), raising up Spirit-led worshipers to raise up Spirit-led worshipers around the world. I was prepared to stay forever. Then, a new pathway opened up, and the Lord began to teach me again, and He said “take the job” with Inspiro. So, a year ago I started walking that road of resigning, leaving, mourning, preparing, transitioning, and letting the Lord walk me out of what was once my dream job, and this next month—I run.
HERE WE GO!!!!
September 13th is my start date for my new full-time missions position at Inspiro, (Operation Mobilization’s Arts Division) as their Director of Training. The summer has been filled with conferences and partnership development and family visits. It has been a season of transition. I will be continuing to work on partnership development until December. It’s been so joyful connecting with people and sharing the story of what God is doing!
My position will include developing training content and mentoring trainers, leading the training department, coordinating training platforms, and overseeing training events. We want to help people approach and experience God in worship through their local languages and simple, humble, culturally expressive, honest artistry mediated by the Holy Spirit! Pray that God will multiply His work in the world by sending many, many workers into the harvest field.
Rob is going to keep teaching at Liberty this year and so we will be home-based in Lynchburg for now and I will travel out from here for trainings as God leads. By His grace, we will also continue house church planting/cultivating and making disciples who make disciples here in Virginia and spreading out to all the earth. Please pray for us. If you have any interest in planting new church or discipleship communities and need help, I love to encourage and resource people in that. Just let me know!
Our beautiful children all start school in a couple weeks and River, our last “baby” is entering kindergarten! Hard to believe, yet feels like an eternity all at the same time. I’ll post pictures when the fateful day arrives. I just wonder about that feeling when the house is quiet…what is that like? Sad and joyful? All the feelings!! We also just received word that Kerala will be attending a local Christian school for this year. She’s excited to learn life science from a biblical perspective and to take a well-earned break from the filtering she normally has to do in public school. She’s excited that she will get “a WHOLE class in Bible!” Caleb and Savannah are going into fourth grade and love their school and teachers already based simply on rumor of their kindness and the fact that one of them apparently teaches by standing “ATOP her desk” at which point River remarks in her five-year-old wisdom…” that’s just unsafe.” Pray for all the transition to go well and for good friendships this year for all!
We are praising God for His provision and still asking God for monthly financial support partners (churches, businesses, individuals) who want to invest in what God is doing in the world of missions and music, dance, visual arts, theater, and creative writing, culinary arts, etc. Maybe it’s you or maybe you know someone who might be willing to have us speak to their church or small group? Please introduce us by email or social media! We are happy to travel to speak to groups along the east coast as the Lord leads and can easily do a zoom meeting to share. If you would like more details on our specific financial situation I’m happy to share privately. Just email, call or text me. If you know that you would like to partner with us for God’s work in the world, click on the support tab above or click the button below.
Not sure what ethnodoxology is? This is the way I usually define and explain it:
1) It is practiced and studied by people of many cultures—not just a Euro-American endeavor.
2) It is about arts facilitation—making it easy for expressive worship to spring up among the nations
3) It is about seeing local, organic artistry that is not imported but tells the story of your community and every community of vibrant Jesus followers in the world! So my community here in Lynchburg is writing our own songs for worship that tells our heart to God. Others can sing them but they are our songs to the Lord. I can also joyfully borrow and sing a song from South Africa that I have learned and can sing from the heart, but that song celebrates specifically what God is doing among the Xhosa people, and I celebrate that each time I sing it!
4) Not just any art will do. We are not looking for fine art. We are not looking for good art. We are not looking for high quality art. We want to see artistry that is culturally relevant, biblically sound, and communicating truth in emotionally resonant ways (even the truth of difficult things like pain, loss, lament, confusion, or doubt).
5) We want to help the global church use local artistry and our collective global artistry for worship, discipleship, and evangelism. That means we need to be ready to share how our arts tell God’s story and our stories and testimonies, and ask God for creative ways to be proclaiming the gospel as human beings who are innately creative beings!
Feel free to use this information to build up the church as God leads you! No copyrights here.