Window Washing Via Michael Frost

Posted by on Oct 5, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Michael Frost is a bald, metaphor machine, and the window metaphor he shared at FiveTwo’s Wiki’13 changed my understanding of following Jesus.

Perhaps you have heard Frost before.  I had not.  I had heard of him from Alan Hirsch.  I spent a year with the South African Obi Wan and others in FutureTravelers, a wonderful journey of large-church pastors learning how to more effectively reach and disciple those dissatisfied with the local church.  We Jedis traveled from Austin Stone to Soma Communities to Community Christian with each layover bringing new insight and fascinating stories.  It launched me and CrossPoint on a journey that aims for the blue ocean.

And it introduced me to the persona of Michael Frost.  “One of the best communicators in the Church,” said Hirsch.  After Wiki’13 I would agree. 

Frost’s window metaphor paints like this:  If the mission of the Church is to announce and demonstrate the universal reign of God through Christ, then we who are Church are simply called to help people see that reign present in this world.  The challenge, however, is the room in which pre-Christ people live: it is dark and dank with grime covering the windows.  No light seeps through.  No sun rises or sets are visible.  No beauty can be seen or birds heard.  Yet we who live in the kingdom of God by the certainty of baptism united to the certainty of crucifixion and resurrection know this Kingdom is real (I fleshed out the sacramental link).  We can already see heaven.  The smell of the wine is in our nose and taste of the bread, on our tongues.

Our windows are clean.  Our worlds, lit.  The images live in our minds by the power of full cross and empty tomb.

Our task, then, our mission, is to clean windows.  To expose friends and family to the reality of Jesus’ universal reign.  To remove the grime that hinders people from seeing Jesus and His Kingdom. 

According to Frost, Christians clean windows in two ways: by announcing and by demonstrating.  Words and action.  Sharing and doing, especially in the areas of reconciliation, justice, beauty, and wholeness.  (Frost admits the first three areas come from N.T. Wright but adds the last for completeness sake.)

Thus, if in the world to come no hatred or prejudice or racism will exist, how can you be an instrument of reconciliation when another color moves in next door?  If in the world to come have-nots will not exist and widows will not have to beg deaf judges, how can you be an instrument of justice for your co-worker who has been maligned, so that she gets a glimpse of God’s kingdom today?  If in the world to come the beauty of creation and music and food and art will be the norm and everywhere, how can you bring beauty, how can you leverage art to demonstrate Jesus reigns right now?  And if in the world to come the whole man will be whole, with no illness or demonic possession or debilitating addictions, what can you do to bring release and healing to the woman who has struggled for twelve years?

The mission of the Church is to move into the neighborhood – to be the sacrament of God in Christ – revealing the salvific reign of Christ for all.  That happens through announcing and demonstrating.  Through both word and deed.

For me, that means my widow neighbor whose husband recently died of pancreatic cancer eight (!) days after diagnosis needs to hear and see the “kingdom to come” today.  Through me.  Right now.

What about you?  Whose window do you need to wash today? How do you need to be God's sacrament right now?

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Do you believe?

Posted by on Apr 24, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Do you believe Jesus is able?  The suffering we go through, the events that pull us to our knees either to serve or to pray, there divine formation takes place.  There a life that matters is being shaped in us.  That’s the experience Jesus is using in our lives to deepen our dependence on Him, our belief in His abilities.

Do you believe Jesus can bring healing to your broken body, that He can arrest the cancer, reconcile the marriage, restore the sight?  That He has authority to unstop the ears, remove the paralysis, mend your back?  Do you believe the resurrected Jesus continues to walk beside you, that through your baptism His Spirit lives within you, that same spirit that raised the centurion’s servant from his sick bed, raised the young man from his funeral bier, and raised Jesus from 3 days in the tomb?

A life that matters believes in Jesus’ abilities, and so it gives generously, appreciates authority, and serves selflessly, every day, right here, right now.

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No Death, No Resurrection. No Resurrection, Just Death.

Posted by on Mar 29, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Easter arrives in 3 days.  But before you open that package, remember Good Friday.

Good Friday – the day all hell broke loose – is the Tim Lincecum to Easter’s Sergio Romo.  A biblical Yin to the happy Yang.  The carrot cake that demands cream cheese frosting.  A ‘step 1’ that leads to ‘step 2,’ without which ‘step 2’ would be meaningless.

Good Friday makes sense of Easter.  No death, no need for a resurrection.

Good Friday at our congregation  equals somber, joyless, and dark.  No happy.  No clapping.  No laughing.  Just an incredibly vivid depiction of the crucifixion that fuses the ancient shadowy service of Tenebrae with modern imagery and music.  Your entire being experiences the breaking of Jesus’ body, the pouring out of His blood.  And then your same being receives both as you leave in silence.

It is by far the most powerful service you will ever attend.  And it deepens your love for Easter because you now understand how you got to the end of the game and why the frosting needs to be so sweet.

In a divinely ironic way the darkness of Good Friday makes Easter’s brightness even more so.  Death enriches resurrection.

Easter undoes all of the death in the world.  Be sure you worship on Easter.

But I also hope you gather with other Jesus-followers for Good Friday.  It is the reason for the resurrection, the why behind the empty tomb.

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In Jesus’ Name…

Posted by on Mar 21, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

We are dying. Our bodies will die. We know that.

But we also know that with the final verse of the song, the final beat of the heart, the final episode of our lives, rather than the stage going dark the lights will all come on. What Jesus did millenniums ago He did for us. When He hung on that cross He didn’t just die for everyone in Malaysia or Madagascar, He died for me. He didn’t just save everyone in the Urals or United Kingdom, He saved you.

And because He saved us then, we are saved now. Because we were baptized years ago–or just yesterday–we are baptized now, which means we have the Spirit of Jesus in us forming and molding us so that more and more we look like Jesus, act like Jesus and will one day totally be with Jesus.

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