Ep 13 – Taking Bread to Boston

In this episode, I talk with Lindsay Hicks about her unique approach to college ministry, some surprising challenges many students are facing, and how parents should handle sending their students off to college where they might struggle to hold onto their faith.

Here are some takeaways from our conversation:

Students are dealing with some surprising challenges like depression, homelessness and hunger.  Lindsay’s ministry is attempting to serve students in spiritual and physical ways.

Advice for Christian parents sending their kids off to college:

  1. Trust Your Kids:  You’ve taught them the Bible now you have to trust them to live it out.
  2. Give Grace:  Chances are they will mess up.  They may fail a class when they never did in high school.  They may begin to ask questions about faith they never asked before.  Will you and your home be a safe place to ask those questions? Will they be able to escape the pressures of college culture in your home?

Bread Coffeehouse @ Tufts will be a place for the Christian and non-Christian student.  As an update, this episode was recorded in August of this year.  Now Lindsay is in Boston and building relationships with students.

For more on Bread, visit www.breadcoffeehouse.org

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When Syrian Refugees Move In Next Door

Last fall, our attention was fixed on the refugee crisis in Europe.  Now, we are focused on the election but refugees are still making the dangerous journey to Europe and are coming to the USA.

In fact, since January, nearly 85,000 refugees have made their way into Europe.  And, several Syrian families have made their home in Clarkston.

In this episode of the podcast, Scott and Jenna share their experience of having a Syrian family over for Thanksgiving and what they have learned about the experience of Syrians as refugees in Europe and now the USA.

Here are notes from the conversation:

Q:  Jenna, you just returned from serving refugees in Greece.  What did you learn?
A: There was not a single Syrian who had not lost someone in the fighting. Everyone had seen death.  I met many families and children suffering the effects of war.

Q:  Why aren’t other Muslim countries taking them in?
A:   The refugees don’t have opportunity in camps, they have no future there.  They want to go to countries where they can eventually make a life for themselves and their children.  Muslim countries that have shut their doors might be doing so because they are concerned with economic and political instability which might arise from an influx of refugees.

Q:  Describe the Syrian families you have met here and how you have engaged them in friendship.

A:  First, those here now have not fled recently. They have been in the pipeline for many years already.

  • Refugees in Europe are known as asylum seekers.
  • Currently when refugees seek asylum in Europe they forfeit their right to come to the USA.
  • To reach out, just invite people into the normal rhythms of your life. You don’t have to make it a big production or do something outside your normal routine.

Scott serves with Global Frontier Missions in Clarkston.  For more information on GFM, visit www.globalfrontiermissions.org

For another interview with someone who has personally been involved in serving refugees in Europe, check out episode 5 of the Mission Life podcast “From the Front Lines of the Refugee Crisis”

Thanks for visiting!  Check back in four weeks for part 2 of my conversation with Scott and Jenna.  Between now and then I will be leading a team to serve in Greece so I won’t be posting on my normal schedule.

How to Engage in Spiritually Reproductive Behaviors

Most Christians can probably quote the command of Jesus to go and make disciples of all nations.  Yet, how many actually know what it means or how to obey it?

In this episode, Ed Waken, a dad, husband, pastor, and disciplemaker shares his thoughts on how you and I can experience the joy of helping people follow Christ.

Ed is a practitioner.  I have known Ed for 7 years and in that time he has become a trusted friend and mentor.  Everything you hear in this episode comes straight from Scripture and his experience.  You will be blessed if you listen to this episode and you will likely want to listen to it again.

Here are some notes from our conversation:

Q: How would you define disciplemaking?

Nudging people toward Christ. Helping them surrender to Christ and helping Christ be formed in them.

Q:  So,if preaching and small groups don’t make disciples, what does?

  • Only disciples can make disciples.
  • It is difficult. It can be heartbreaking.
  • Get heart to heart with people to urge them to pursue Christ.
  • In small groups it is important to experience…
    • Saturation of the word together
    • Authenticity: confessing sins to one another
    • Together being sent out into the world to make disciples
  • Remember the rewards to come. Seek to hear “well done, good and faithful servant.”

Q: Why is disciplemaking seen as optional?

  • Seen as church leaders job
  • We have reduced it to being trained to walk people through a curriculum
  • We tie discipleship to baptism which is usually reserved for ordained clergy
  • Pastors need to do a better job of showing that this is for everyone
  • It is everyone’s responsibility to make disciples
  • You don’t have to wait to share Jesus
  • The Spirit of God intuitively places in us a desire to pass on what we have gained
  • Over time we need to rekindle that fire

Q:  How do we get started?

  • Get desperate.
  • Find other people that are desperate.
  • Form Life Transformation Groups (for more on LTGs visit
  • Gather around the ‘one anothers’ of Scripture
  • Focus on multiplication, sending people out
  • Realize what the Lord has given you.
  • You have everything you need to go and make disciples
  • He has given you the desire and the ability to obey him.
  • Churches should coax out what is already in the believer!
  • Don’t wait until “you are ready.”
  • Jesus sent people out “before they were ready.” (ex. Woman at the Well, Gerasenes Demoniac)
  • When we will start believing that Jesus has the power to make disciples through us.

Q:  We’re busy people. How do we fit this in our schedules?

  • Create margins in your life. Create space to spend time with people.
  • Find the time even if it is late at night or early in the morning.
  • We find time for many things in this life but neglect meeting with other people who need Jesus.

Q:  What adjustments should traditional churches make to move toward becoming disciplemaking churches?

  • Spend time with people outside your normal spiritual group.
  • Incorporate prayer and listening into your hanging out times.
  • Ask Jesus to open your eyes to what is really going on around you.
  • Develop true community beyond the formalities.
  • Ask the Lord to show you who you could be investing your time into to see Christ formed in them.
  • Church is a family but we often operate like a school.

To connect with Ed you can follow him on Twitter, @EdWaken or visit his website at www.edwaken.blogspot.com

If you found this episode helpful, please pass it along to someone you think might benefit.  Post it on your Facebook page, send the link to this post, or text the link from iTunes.

The goal of this podcast is to share encouraging stories and insights from people putting their faith into action so that together we might see Christ glorified.

Dreams from Our Father

Dreams from Our FatherPeace on earth, good will toward men.”

“and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.”      Luke 9:2

Everyone has a dream of a perfect world.

Some dreams come from culture.  Some dreams come from parents.

Christians also live with a dream.

And contrary to what it might seem, the dream is not for everyone to look the same, talk the same, vote the same way, go to church every Sunday and Wednesday, never see R movies, never cuss, or generally avoid fun altogether.

And the dream is not just about heaven, though it would seem that “going to heaven when you die” seems to be the main goal for many.

No this dream goes beyond behavior and where you would go if you died tonight, as important as both of these things are. This dream is about something much bigger and much more transformational.

The dream encompasses not just human behavior and individual destiny, but also creation and the remaking of all things.

In fact, what I am about to share might be surprising to some Christians themselves.

You see, we Christians have a secret which we either have forgotten or are unsure how to share.

The secret is a dream for the world and everyone in it.

Like so many, we want a world without hunger, disease, poverty, where people live generous lives, the environment is clean, and more. And you can find Christians working toward these goals all over the world. I can name many.

But we believe such a world can only come about ultimately by a power greater than us.

We dream of a world set right by God, not by us. We dream of a world where the real flaw behind all the problems we see is solved. We dream of a world where God is King and makes all things new.

“the gospel, in the New Testament, is the good news that God (the world’s creator) is at last becoming king and that Jesus, whom this God raised from the dead, is the world’s true lord.” NT Wright, Surprised by Hope

This is a dream not from us (as if we could imagine a truly perfect world) but given by God through Jesus.

As Christians we seek and work for a world that Jesus wanted – a world where God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven. And if God’s will is done on earth as in heaven, that means that God is the ultimate authority.

But what does this look like?

Aha.  We look to Jesus.

Jesus spoke about a world where God is King more than anything else. He taught and modeled what life is like when love of God and others is at the center, where God rather than self is ruling. In short, Jesus taught us about life in the kingdom of God.  And through his death and resurrection, by the defeat of death, Jesus launched this kingdom!

But our problem is we have made ourselves king and put our hope in kings. And this has affected everything.

 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:13

All along, though, we were meant for another kingdom, which is why we want to change things in the first place!

Sadly, the dream of God being King, of His will on earth as in heaven, gets lost in smaller dreams of growing churches, shallow moralism, individualism, and disembodied “life after death” where all you have to do is say a particular prayer and you are good to go.

To recapture the dream, we ask ourselves, what kind of world does God want? Not just what we want, which can be fickle and ill informed at best.

We have been given a dream from our Father to come home to Him, repent and put Him back as the ruler of our lives and this world. And as we work to relieve the suffering we see, as we seek to embody His will on earth as in heaven, we are actually living the dream He has given us!

So forgive us if we give you only part of the story, if we only tell you what to say to avoid hell or just get you busy doing stuff.

The real hope we want you to know is a world made new (and you made new) by God through Jesus.   And this hope is made possible not by new rules, regulations, or religions, but only by what God has done in Christ.  One day the work He began in Christ will be completed.  All things will be new.

For this is the message our Father whispers in any ear willing to hear and boldly proclaims in Christ for any eyes willing to see.  This is the dream from our Father.

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21

The top 9 objections to christianty I heard last week

Our crew fixing bikes.  They didn’t let me anywhere near the bikes.

Last week I joined a group from our church to go serve the city of Toronto.

The group did a lot of wonderful work around the city in partnership with an amazing new church up there.

Now we didn’t see any Mounties nor was it snowing.  But, the people did talk funny though.

Our purpose was simply to serve and show the love of Christ in a practical way.  That meant in part that we held a free, 14 hr, bike clinic in downtown Toronto where we fixed around 300 bikes and talked to hundreds of people.

The group served the homeless and provided another bike clinic in a suburb of the city as well.

It was a powerful week and one that no one on the team will ever forget.  

As we engaged people in conversation, we discovered that the Torontoans were not afraid to express their opinions and objections to faith in general and Christianity in particular.
Here are the top 9 I heard, in no particular order.  
    • Christianity is a cult like all religions.  
    • I put my hope in the goodness of people.
    • You can be good without God.  
    • All religions are the same. 
    • We can’t really know what Jesus said because they kept on changing the Bible.
    • You can’t trust any institution. They are all corrupt.
    • The best we can hope is that our good outweighs our bad.
    • How can one religion be the right one?  How does anyone know theirs is the right one?
    • Why did Jesus have to die?  Can’t you just ask God for mercy without the need of Jesus?
      I will address these in separate posts.

      The big takeaway was that we need not fear engagement of each other on serious matters of faith and spiritual things.  Someone else’s disagreement does not affect my faith or my concern for them. 

      After all, the point of Christianity is loving people, not winning arguments.