Leadership

"What Is A House Church?" ~ Vision Proper For The Tribe of Expressions

"What is a House Church?" This is probably the most common question I get asked when people hear that I am a House Church leader in The Edge. I think one of the common mistakes we make in answering comes when we see House Churches as a model rather then an organic community of people. We say, "We are trying to..."

  • "... be like the 1st century house churches."
  • "... be less organizational."
  • "... just do life with friends and family."
  • "... do church smaller within our homes and living rooms."
  • "... be a simple small group."

When we really look at what being a house church is, our intentions are not to follow a model or even past example, it is really to be a closely knit spiritual family who are...

A Deep Gaze Into Missional Theology and The Eschatological Gleanings From Them ~ Conclusion

As Christ followers find themselves entwined into the triunity of a relational understanding to the Trinity, the imago Dei and the imago Christi are catalyzed into a divine collision between the Kingdom of God and the world. While being elected into the apostolic community of “sent ones”, they are released into a revolutional eternal life of the missio Dei. We embrace this new identity not by our own deserving, nor by any of our own works, but as N. T. Wright states, “We are committed to describing the world not just as it should be, not just as it is, but as—by God’s grace alone![1]

It is our confession that, “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith...

A Deep Gaze Into Missional Theology and The Eschatological Gleanings From Them ~ Pt. #5 ~ Fun Houses and the True Identity of the Ekklesia

As a boy I used to love going to the local fair and exploring the fun houses and the glass maze. I would sometimes spend hours feeling my way through the glass and mirrors till I reached the top of the house and the maze broke way to a large open room filled with funny mirrors. They were curved and warped so that when I stood in front of them they would distort my image and I’d look really short and fat or tall and super skinny. I’d laugh with my friends, point at their funny images, and strike poses for my own amusement. Looking back, there was a certain degree of reality within those moments in the fun houses. Paul shares with the church in Corinth that, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.”[1] He was articulating that as we grow in the maturity of Christ, we do not fully comprehend all that the Kingdom of God wishes us to see...

A Deep Gaze Into Missional Theology and The Eschatological Gleanings From Them ~ Pt. #4 ~ The Great Collide: The Intertwining Kingdom of God with the World

The taking up of the call into discipleship and an ecclesiology of death through the embrace of the imago Christi is not without its benefits either. In a great book by Sylvia Keesmaat and Brian Walsh called ‘Colosians Remixed’, they share that, “In Christ we have come to say to the darkness, ‘We beg to differ.’ We have seceded from the empire of darkness and been granted citizenship in the Kingdom of the beloved Son.”[1] Finding ourselves in citizenship as part of God’s Kingdom brings a great freedom to our interactions within the world as N.T. Wright observes that, “The kingdom of God and the kingdoms of the world come together to produce a vision of history moving forward toward its goal, a goal that will emerge from within...

A Deep Gaze Into Missional Theology and The Eschatological Gleanings From Them ~ Pt. #3 ~ Missiology in Apostolic Actions of Dominion

Within the relational Trinitarian order, witnessing the apostolic sending of each agent over one another cannot be dismissed as evident. Without a specific order scripture articulates the diverse places each agent interacts and is sent into creation; from the Spirit hovering over the waters of creation,[1] to the Father dwelling within a burning bush,[2] to the Son being sent to fulfill the law;[3] God acts apostolically within his identity and creation to fulfill his mission. In the same sense, we cannot separate the missio Dei from the creational order of the imago Dei as God created us in his image for the purposes of dominion.[4] By the most natural sense our, “Doxological response means participation in and transformation...

A Deep Gaze Into Missional Theology and The Eschatological Gleanings From Them ~ Pt. #2 ~ A Relational Trinity of Wonder and Mysticism

While I have already stated my humility in attempting to define an understanding of the Triune God, I endeavor to share an illustration to a relational Trinity on the foundations of wonder and mysticism. With a lack of language to articulate this proposition, it was my fellow cohort Beth Reeves that I think best expressed this view in writing that the Trinity is understood as being, “with a connection to communal action out of a shared relationship. Each agent supports the other with unique responsibilities which compliment and enhance the others." I think it is important to note here that by saying each agent complements the others, they find diversity in inauguration and yet equity between each other. The Father’s office in identity may be in difference to the Son and the Spirit through expression, and yet the two are found as equals and the same over the course of all time. To some appearance this might...

A Deep Gaze Into Missional Theology and The Eschatological Gleanings From Them ~ Pt. #1 ~ Historical Definitions to the Triune God

When asked what the most important commandment is, Jesus intuitively turns to the Jewish Shema exclaiming. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[1] It is a deep-rooted understanding that God is above any and all else and exists as one being. Yet we also know that Jesus points to himself as God’s Son[2] and later promises the coming of the Holy Spirit.[3] Moving from the monotheism of the Old Testament to the triune understanding of the New Testament was a great shift in the understanding of God as one identity in three and found its first steps of expression in that, “the incipient plurality in the one God is expressed in terms of ‘Wisdom,’ ‘Word,’ and ‘Spirit,’ which seem to serve as (semi)-personified agents of divine activity.[4] Throughout the next several generations the understanding...

A Deep Gaze Into Missional Theology and The Eschatological Gleanings From Them ~ An Introduction

There is an old quote by Fredrick Nietzsche that says, “If you gaze long enough into the abyss, the abyss will also gaze into you.” While I have spent much time in the last few months meditating and reading into the issues of understanding the Trinity, missional theology, and there eschatological implications; I feel greatly inadequate or unqualified in endeavoring to add my own comments to such a deep conversation. Still, in doing so I have found the long gaze of these same subjects looking back into my own life and community with some phenomenal insights. In this series of posts it is my hope to explore some of the historical understandings of the Trinity while arguing for a relative theological definition to my own stance...

Future Steps Towards The Edge - Pt. #5 - Conclusion - Pilgrims and Fellow Sojourners in the Missio Dei

Standing-on-the-edge Michael Horton wrote once that,

“There is a significant origin and end point to history, within which we ourselves are cast members. It is a courtroom drama in which we are either false or true witnesses, “in Adam” or “in Christ,” justified or condemned, alive or dead.

Neither masters nor tourists, we become pilgrims.

Unlike masters, pilgrims have not arrived and they do not presume to inaugurate their own kingdoms of glory. They don’t have all the answers and they are not exactly sure what their destination city will be like; they are driven by a promise and by God’s fulfillment of his promise along the way. Yet unlike tourists, they are on their way to a settled place and every point along the way is a landmark toward that destination.”

Sojourning with the tribes of The Edge has without a doubt brought great joy in my life and as Horton points out, shown me “landmarks toward that destination” we endeavor to journey towards together. Bevans and Schroeder say that, "Christians are incorporated into the divine life and experience a foretaste of the world's destiny of full communion with God, with one another and with all of creation."[1] It is my hope we too will also experience this uniting communion together, so as to become all that which God wishes us to become.

My hope is in sharing this that we will see these challenges not as critiques or divisions, but as opportunities to greater engage in the mission of God as he has called upon us as one unified movement. I know that together I dream of the day that we are all Living the Life of Jesus Within the Lives of Others to The Edge and beyond this world!!

[1] Bevans, Stephen B., and Roger Schroeder. Constants in Context: A Theology of Mission for Today. (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2004) Pg. #299.

Rochester Rule of Life: Living Within a Relational Covenant

CovenantIt was a little over a year ago that I was introduced to the practice of keeping a Rule of Life by my fellow cohorts in the MREML Program I enrolled in at Rochester College. To be completely honest, I was hesitant to its practicality at first feeling it was a bit juvenile and institutional with the implications of the word "rule". Over time though, it began to take on a different meaning in my life as I began to recognize it as a practice not so much about rules of institutional authority but rather more about the relational organic practices of covenant that begin to shape who I am and the person I am becoming. In its meaning, a covenant is defined as a binding contract between two parties. It can be both personal and/or economical. I suppose it also can be communal in some contexts too. In any form however, it is always relational and transforming to those who are a part of them. In the context of my covenant with Rochester, I find that transformation in three ways.

As an image bearer of God I find the nature of my covenant being rooted in my relationship with the Trinity. As he is the first mover in defining my nature I must first look to his voice and presence as he speaks to the person I am meant to be. Any transformation that is or going to take place in my life should be rooted in the guidance of His nature and wisdom.

Secondly, the nature of a covenant in identity must also be intertwined into the relational community I am a part of. While this includes the fellow cohort of students I am a part of, it also extends into the locality of my relationships in my neighbourhood and my tribe. Transformation in the academia of Rochester is not just for the stretching context of personally acquired knowledge but rather the exercised practice of learning for the sake of transformed community practices.

Lastly, the embrace of an organic relational covenant brings transformation to the environment we are a part of. While finding new and renewed understandings of who we are through covenant we also see the environment we are a part of in a new and transformed way without ever leaving it. Marcel Proust stated, "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." While the nature of our covenant transcends the distance of many states and countries even, each of us finds a shared transformational renewal in our own personal contexts of locality which can become inspirational to one another as we share our stories.

The authors of the book 'Mighty Stories, Dangerous Rituals' write that, "When we weave together the human and the divine, we are attentive to another story that is not completely our own, a narrative that has the power to transform.” While we begin to embrace the ritual, and tell the story of a Relational Organic Covenant to which we are a part of over the coming months, let us always remember that this covenant is not unto its own self a declaration of who we are personally, but also those who are in covenant with us!

"He remembers his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac, which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant." (Psalm 105:8-11)

With that in mind, here is my Rochester Relational Covenant...

  1. Because we believe God became flesh and dwelt among us in Jesus and continues to make his home with us through the Holy Spirit:

We will care for our own bodies as we await our adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

We will care for one another as we share our lives, particularly by praying for one another.

We will care for creation

I am committed to alternating workouts throughout the week between the weight gym and wheeling the pathways while the weekends are elective.

I will be attentive to healthier food choice while maintaining a diet which treats food as fuel for purpose and not self gratification.

I will seek to model a holistic and healthy lifestyle both for my wife, my tribe (Expressions), and the community around me through the growth of my mental understanding, physical conditioning, and spiritual awareness.

I will read one chapter of scripture every day for the purpose of meditating in it through the rest of the day.

I will seek to apply my learning within the Rochester cohort and MRE to the growth of my tribe and The Edge.

I will seek to engage in my studies through reading, writing, and practice, to the best of my abilities with the intent of growing closer to God's call upon my life.

I will practice daily morning prayer and throughout the day.

  1. Because we believe that God has reconciled the world to himself through Jesus and reconciles us together to God by the power of the Holy Spirit:

We will create hospitable spaces in our lives to welcome others as Christ has welcomed us.

We will work toward peace and reconciliation within the body of Christ so that our unity might be a testimony to God’s reconciling work.

We will welcome the hospitality of God extended to us by others as they share in peace with us.

I will continue to open my house as a sanctuary to the work of God in all those who enter it through Tribal Gatherings, suppers, leadership gatherings, and social events.

I will seek to meet with all the tribal leaders a part of The Edge at least once a month one on one either by phone, coffee/meal, or online.

I will continue to model and invite others to be a part of the discipling culture our tribe is a part of (I-Living) while continuing to develop a discipling culture within The Edge.

I will attend and be a part of all Edge leadership suppers, gatherings, and retreats while fostering the relationships we have.

I will meet with my ministry partner John every two weeks to learn from his modelling, wisdom, and instruction while dreaming and discerning on the future movement of our tribes.

I will be open to the invitations of my nieghbours to any community gathering point.

I will continue to publish my thoughts and writing in public spaces (blog, Face Book, Email) with the openness of engaging others in conversation around them.

  1. Because we believe God’s love has been revealed to us in the self-giving death of Jesus, and because that love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit:

We will cultivate practices of steadfast love in our own lives.

We will bear each other’s burdens, weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice, in order to participate in a trustworthy community.

We will find ways to make our neighborhoods places of God’s trustworthiness through self-giving love.

I will seek to be involved in at least two community or YYC projects per month for the purpose of creating a better neighbourhood.

I will seek to show love to my wife through dating often, meaningful gifts of beauty (yes, it might be sentimental but, the occasional rose goes a long way!! :) ), and making time to listen to her.

I will also seek to be a better husband through reading, council of friends, and podcasts/video.

I will love my tribe through being present in their lives while shaping my discussions with them solely through the language of encouragement and empowerment.

I will seek out every opportunity to engage my neighbours in conversation while being attentive to the opportunities to bless them within the context that they are in.

I will continue engaging the story of the Calgary Centre for Global Community & being involved in its activities.