What a crazy week! This one began in the Bay area of California with some great dialog. Not everyone loved it, however. We did have some people that wanted to promote some abusive views of God that others among us were trying to break free of. It was in interesting conversation to say the least. I know people like them mean well, or so they think, but when you’re militant about others knowing that God will strike them with calamity just to get their attention, you’ve missed who he is entirely.
They even argued that that is exactly what God’s discipline is about. My heart hurts for such people. They sound like abused kids of an angry alcoholic dad as they try to explain that dad’s violence is a sign of his love. God simply isn’t like that. He’s in the world to rescue us from its destruction. Our troubles arise from a fallen world, not a disciplining Father. Discipline means to train up, as in a dad directing his child, not one who’s beating them into submission.
Then, Sara and I had a couple of days on the Central Coast before I head off to Australia. Then we returned home for a quick visit by some dear Swiss friends. All the while we’ve been trying to sort out the new website. I appreciate the patience and help so many of you have offered. It turned out to be more of a mess than we thought it was when it launched, so now we’re having to fix things on the run. But I’ve heard from many of you that you love the new look and how much easier it is to find the free stuff! People really love the free stuff!
Next up is a three-week trip to Australia. There are a lot of hungry hearts there and people taking great risks to follow God instead of man. I love that! And we’re going to begin some of the conversations there about Seeding Community in the world. We have the tendency to keep creating various systems to try to manufacture community in the world. Most don’t realize that God’s kind of community is a gift he gives. We can’t create it by anything we do, but we can recognize what he’s doing and participate with him. By living lives of freedom, love, and hospitality we can open up space in which God can seed his community in the world. I’m excited about exploring that more with people who share a hunger for nonsystematized ways encouraging community in the world.
In June, we’ll be looking to take some of that to the Carolinas as well, though the schedule is far from complete at the point, but will be in the first two weeks of June. And in between those two trips Sara and I will be on Vancouver Island for an anniversary trip, though we’ve set aside some time over the weekend to connect with other hungry hearts in the region.
And finally, we’ve been putting the final touches on a Lifestream trip to Israel next February, February 5-16 to be exact. I’ve wanted to take Sara there since I first visited seventeen years ago. It impacted me more than I expected and has forever shaped my enjoyment of Scripture having been in the land in which it was penned. Standing on the shore of Galilee, or sitting in a private spot in Garden of Gethsemane, or being in the holding cell where Jesus was the night before he was crucified were forever stamped on my heart. Finally God has opened the door for us to go and take 40 people with us and we’ll have the same guide whom I enjoyed so much last time. Full details will be available soon, and we’ll announce it here first.