Toxic Isolation & the Prevailing Church  

Posted by Mike Sharrow

At the recently Global Leadership Summit in Teguc 460+ leaders from the region gathered together for the first time around the campfire of Kingdom leadership. The reaction to the high caliber content was as expected and similar to what we see in the States - awe, overwhelmed with the significant implications, excitement, renewal, etc...

What impacted me was the shock leaders experienced from gaining broader awareness of each other. There were dozens of leaders from churches trying to tackle the world solo and struggling to comprehend how they could be the "hope of the world" in a city of 1,000,000+ people. Most of the churches - whether large or small - were unaware of each other, each others ministry initiatives, or the broader work happening in the city. Islands unto themselves, whether balmy or struggling, they were isolated.

Isolation in Christ is toxic. It leads us to think small, fear much, underestimate the force and power God is working in this world, overestimate the challenge and grow anemically self-sufficient. When a leader suddenly realizes God is moving His Body of more than 50,000 in this city there is a sudden rush of boldness and confidence at what God is really capable of!

This is not just a global issue, though. Certainly, the local church is handicapped within a region when operating as a solo cowboy brigade for the Kingdom. Individually we encounter the same thing, though. We reduce the Way of Christ to a singular journey quietly played out apart from community. We miss the interdependency of the Body, fail to receive and give in a Kingdom way that leads to a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts...we miss an adventure, glimpses of victorious battles won against the darkness, we miss...the Hand of God moving in ways we cannot even comprehend!

Are you engaged in the Kingdom life? are you living it alone? are you reaching out in community? As a community are you reaching out to the broader Body (big C church) around you? Are we prevailing against the very gates of Hell!?

Just a Sentence in God's Story  

Posted by Mike Sharrow

I'm in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I've had the opportunity to visit a variety of local ministries ranging from a Compassion International program, a local church ran dental/medical clinic to a retired nurse who decided to turn a small house into a feeding center for about 40 underweight/malnourished children. The central event was participating in the Global Leadership Summit here, occurring for the first time in this city/region. 460 leaders showed up and were blown away as God used this global event to do what only God can do.

Alberty is a guy from the Dominican Republic who ran the technical side of the event. He shared his testimony with me about God rescuing him from a gang life in the barrios of San Domingo to walk in a new life that is radically transformed. As I asked him about the journey of faith he was on I was impressed with his contentedness amidst uncertainty. When I asked him to explain his perspective on God's work in his life he told me his "sentence theory" of God's work:

Mike, I read in the Bible about this man named Joseph. Joseph loved God, honored God and did everything he could to represent God in his life. God blessed him and yet he ended up in prison for a false accusation. Here's a good man in a place that makes no sense after doing nothing wrong. There's a verse that simply says "after 2 years in jail.." Think about it - for 2 entire years Joseph sat in prison unclear on why he was there, what God was doing, but he kept honoring God while God was preparing the stage for the next part of the story. We all know the big story, but for 2 years I'm sure Joseph thought prison was the biggest issue in his life. Well, I face every season in my life wondering, "God, is this something that at the end of the day will be a simple sentence that "after X years.." or is this a key part of Your story?"

What a vantage point...Is this a big event, or just a sentence in the ultimate flow of life as God is writing His story in our lives, the Church, the world?

(v) But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me. Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall I will rise; though I dwell in darkness, the Lord is a light for me...

In Love with Love  

Posted by Mike Sharrow

Remember when "love" struck in middle school? That's when the rapturous allure of "love" begins to really take root. Of course, it's not really "love," as much as the idea of love that consumes you. It's the period in life when just the look from that certain someone, the hint that he/she might "like you," is enough to send you over the moon. You may never even talk directly about the "matter which we do not discuss," but your world can be blissfully consumed by a romance of the mind - it's when we become "in love with the idea of love."

Sometimes we love the idea more than the reality, the scent more than the flower, the warmth more than the flame...we become in love with the idea of love and never actually succumb to its consuming embrace. This happens in our relationships with spouses, relationship with God, personal ventures and a host of other things. Haven't you found the disappointment gap between what someone describes versus reality - someone says, "Oh this thing I am doing is amazing - you wouldn't believe the stuff happening there," but when you actually check it out it's like you're looking at a proverbial "man behind the curtain."

With our God-walk it's what I call "dating" God instead of really taking the plunge. We like the idea of God - powerful, loving, available, forgiving, all-knowing, etc. We love the idea of Him being right there for us whenever we need Him, and sometimes we like to say a few things to Him in passing when we have time or really need the comfort. Yet, it's not what we'd really call being in a "love" relationship. It's like we're holding hands and infatuated with the scent of love but not quite brave enough to truly commit. It's the middle school romance edition of Christianity.
What does loving God and loving people look like to you? Are you living love or just "in love with love?"

The Anti-Drug: ban dihydrogen monoxide  

Posted by Mike Sharrow

In the 1990s a University of Washington biology professor pulled a witty prank on his students that got out of control. In an attempt to help his students realize how emotional their thinking was to always be rushing against things without thinking about the entire situation, he architected a campus-wide petition to have a ban on a chemical responsible for mass death and destruction worldwide. This chemical is dihydrogen monoxide. It's deadly. More people are killed by this chemical every year than any other substance - and yet the USA, United Nations and all other leading democracies have failed to curb its use! Students signed the petition by the thousands - to the point it had sufficient signatures to go to the Washington State House of Representatives. Just prior to the petition really taking flight, the professor released a statement: the chemical dihydrogen monoxide is indeed a deadly force, but it is more commonly known by the label H2O, or water.

Sometimes its easier to rally against something than for something. We can become very effective when rallied around negative sentiments for something. Certainly we are called to oppose many things in life...but at times we can become consumed by our anti-isms to the point that either we forget or we fail to convey that which we are actually for. We become anti-everything in the persona we radiate.

We become more anti-abortion than we are pro-helping at-risk children. We become more anti-divorce than pro-helping people with really messy marriage problems. We become more anti-[insert party name] than we are pro-values. More anti-poverty than pro-relief. More anti-symptom of soulical death that pro-radically transforming truth.

If a coworker were asked to define the attributes of your life in Christ - would there be more pro's than anti's, and what would they be? What would they say that YOU are "for?"