Bursting & praise

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We are bursting at the seems with folk becoming regulars in our community. Please pray for us as we figure out how to accommodate the growth – spiritual needs, variety of worship expressions & preferences and culture differences.

Praise God that a friend I helped with his CV has had a glimmer of hope. He has over 30 years experience with a country’s helicopter service. We worked on reflecting this in his CV; making it very professional. He literally went to where the helicopters land/takeoff and told them he needs work. They were dubious until they mentioned a fault in a gauge that a company could not fix. A true miracle happened – they jokingly asked him to fix it and he did! They were so impressed they asked for his CV. Which he furnished and they were gobsmacked! They have forwarded this into their managing director. I hope to help him follow up with him and the company. This has been such an affirmation for him and I pray it will bring further fruit.

Special Guests – Dr. Hud & Nancy McWilliams

This week we have Dr. Hud & Nancy McWilliams staying with us. Today he is leading a seminar on grace filled relationships for the church, then speaking at our church gathering. There will be many quotes I will find worthy of posting; some his, some others. Here is one from the seminar that I think is worth posting.

“Grace is control of inward attitudes and outward actions by means of love without any penalty.”

I will ruminate on this for awhile…

Goodbyes

We have said goodbye to too many people the past few months. This week is even harder. Last month, a member of our Mosaic community got married and then moved to Singapore. Two days ago Carol and I said farewell to Stuart a friend that was reuniting with his family in Australia. These friends are travelling to places we may never go to; and they may never come back here. Tomorrow we say farewell to our friend Mridu, who is from Nepal & has been living with us for 8 months. She however will be studying at Harvard for 3 years. There is a possibility we will see her again. All of these goodbyes are making me long for stability in relationships. Aside from selfish motivations, there is the mutual benefit we receive as we share in all things – caring for one another, learning from one another, and being united in the Spirit (to name a few). I never thought about this aspect of being in a community here – our focus has been on growth/development of a church and you tend to view leaving as a detriment. However, if we have truly been living in the Spirit and a spiritual community, these people will have grown up in the Lord and they go on prepared to plant the seed’s of Christ love elsewhere. Goodbyes then can be seen as throwing seeds into the air to take root elsewhere.

In the home stretch?

We are entering a really busy month. I’m still trying to figure out if we are ‘in the home stretch’ or just starting the journey.

  1. We have introduced in Mosaic the concept of the ‘promise’ – a commitment to particular practices that will help Mosaic live out its vision. Commitment is more easily adopted in secular groups (teams, organizations, etc.) but when it comes to the church, people tend to want preference and consumption without sacrifice or participation. We need to go further in helping people see the biblical basis for commitment or covenanting. I see this as  matter of aligning our head & hearts with what God wants for our community. That isn’t always easy to correct our preferences, traditions, habits, etc. and align them with what God calls us to. That is discipleship though.
  2. We have two sets of guests arriving – Dan & Bert. One set are friends who will be here for a week. One will stay on until May. We also have my sister in law and niece coming. They’ll be here to help with our kids while Carol and I are away for 5 days at a conference in Portugal (we’ve also been able to tack on 4 days in Paris – for FREE!!!).
  3. This week will also be heavy with conversations about our future (I’ll post in a couple weeks in detail) and the reason for Dan & Bert’s visit. It is the beginning steps of a longer and more settled future for us.
  4. We are starting lent and this elads up to Easter…school breaks…etc. It is always a packed time.

However, I am tending toward the positive with all this. It is good stuff, healthy, exciting and I see it as the culmination of things that started long ago (2000 years ago for one event!). I see it as both the home stretch and the start of a new chapter.

Membership, covenant, commitment, etc….The Promise

Mosaic is wrestling with the idea of commitment. Last Sunday we presented The Promise – our attempt at articulating some core aspects of committing to Mosaic in order for us to grow and fulfill God’s will for us as a community. Using our values and life practices as a starting place we identified 5 aspects that will help us pursue Mosaic’s vision as a community. They are:

  1. Living out our life practices – these are based on our values of communion, community and co-mission. Won’t go into them here.
  2. Regular participation in our weekly gatherings
  3. Missional living at work – wherever we spend most of our time.
  4. Sacrificial giving
  5. Regular involvement in a small group

Some of this is a result of reflections over the last few years, some recent feedback & challenges the community faces, and a great deal has to do with us trying to work toward the same goals for Mosaic and God’s mission in the world. We cannot move in a united direction if we are all pursuing our own will or we have different objectives. This still gives a great deal of personal flexibility and is not something to be policed but embraced; only the person will know if they are wholehearted or ‘ticking off the box’.

For those who are followers of Christ and can embrace these five aspects, they would become ‘promised’ people in Mosaic (we termed this ‘aprentices’) and they would be given responsibility according to gifting, character, and calling which flows into ministry and leadership. Those who are not a follower of Christ or a Christian who is determining if Mosaic is a community God wants them to participate in would simply be ‘friends’. This would be an opportunity for them to discover the claims of Christ and/or discern their ability to embrace Mosaic’s values and mission. 

I think in some ways this puts us closer to being a missional community; even urban monastics. Western culture doesn’t do well with commitment and I know Mosaic/us as leaders aren’t perfect, so please be in prayer as we consider being promised, seek unity and forge ahead in fulfilling God’s will for us in 2008.

International Christmas

I’m posting early as it is going to get busy. I almost finished our shopping, our tree is decorated, Sophie has her party today (she is Mary in the play), and the kids get out at 230pm and then have off for 2 weeks.

Our Christmas meal is shaping up to be an ‘international’ feast. Along with Carol’s sister’s family, we have a Pakistani family, a Congolese/French family, a Nepali friend, and possibly a Danish friend. This means we cannot have ham (Muslim culture) nor beef (Nepali/Hindu culture). We wouldn’t do beef anyway so we will be having turkey, chicken, and I’d like to try a salmon filet. There will be international people so I’m hopeful we will also have international foods 🙂

The next day we head over to our English neighbours for Boxing Day – the term originates in Victorian era Britain, for the day after Christmas, when the rich would box up gifts and bring them to the poor, and also to their own servants. It will be a full few days in addition to our Mosaic gathering on the 23rd and the one we host at our flat on the 30th. I’m glad the kids are off, we have a roof over our heads, and that God is blessing us with these wonderful friends.

If you remember please pray for Ruth a community member and Sheila, the mother of Peter another community member.

Have a Happy Christmas and great Hogmanay!

Mike for the family

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Arrived safely

I’m back from the USA, a little jet-lagged, but grateful to have had the opportunity to visit Norwalk. The people were generous, friendly, and for small town America much more familiar with life outside the States than our media would portray. A number of people had been to the UK/Europe and even an 8th grade class was familiar with some of the news/life in the UK. We will debrief and plan our next steps but our ultimate aim is to have cultural exchange and to develop a experiencial worldview between Glasgow & Norwalk.

In the next few days I’m helping with our Mosaic gathering, we have a number of parties for the kids, and planning for our Mosaic ‘community conversation’ (a time to listen and share a bit of our vision).

USA Trip

I’m away from the 18-24th visiting Norwalk,Ohio as part of a networking/relationship building trip sponsored by the GeoTrac Foundation. Myself, my colleague Stuart, and Lynsey a ‘Mosaicer’ are part of a team building bridges with this community and civic & Christian leaders. I’m also there to pursue some efforts toward making us more sustainable in ministry. Please be in prayer for our team, me as I present a proposal, and our family.

Busy days

Yesterday a couple in Mosaic – Dave & Elaine – got married. It was a beautiful ceremony and we were privileged to be there. I loved dancing the traditional ceilidh dances. We were seated with the other ‘ministers’ and I sat next to the officiator of the wedding. Interestingly, we know his brother and sister in law as we have stayed at their cottage on Islay. At the wedding, I also recognized someone (Bill) from the Partick Housing Association (PHA) that I have had a few dealings with. Bill is an American that has lived here for over 25 years and through his role with PHA is helping redevelop a local park near where we meet as a church.

Today we have our Acts 2 gathering (worship, teaching, fellowship, food, & communion) and I will be teaching the primary aged kids – I leave in 10 minutes to go set up! Monday we have a visit to a museum and friends over for lunch. Tuesday we go on a hill walk and Wednesday I pack because I’ll be in the USA fromthe 18-24th as part of a team networking with Norwalk, Ohio as part of a trip sponsored by the GeoTrac Foundation.

Please keep us in your prayers as the kids are also off school this week – that helps and adds to Carol’s week while I’m away. It is busy but good as in all we do we are building relationships and practicing the presence of God!

Healthy church confusion

It is very easy to think that a building is church and it is something you go to on Sunday morning. But what if church became so confusing that everything you did was ‘church’? That no matter where you were you experienced God’s presence. Or you couldn’t tell the difference in your worship expression through a deed or singing a song? Or when you went to a place that you knew physically as ‘church’ but the gathering was nothing like church as you traditionally know it?

I think for Christendom this would be very confusing and unsettling. We’d label that expression heresy or that expression as wrong since we are ‘basing our faith on good works’. We’d say we could invite our friends to this gathering but not to that gathering – one would scare them away, the other would be tantalizing them with the things of God & enjoyable. Or personally, this would feel like church since we got all dressed up, went somewhere we recognized as a church building and sang and listened to some songs. On the other hand, a very similar activity wouldn’t feel like church but we still got dressed up, went to the same building and sang & listened to some songs.

Recently that has been what it is like for our family. As adults, we feel quite comfortable in this unsettled place even though we are thoroughly familiar with a Christendom church model. And yet, I see our children embracing this way as the norm for them; they know nothing else. Here are two experiences that highlight this: Continue reading