28 February 2009

Probably did it again

There was a raging debates over at Bill Kinnon's blog about a short term missions venture. 

Bill and some folks kinda went at it -- both on his blog and the originator of the YouTube vids -- and as per usual, I made a comment

So I'm probably in trouble with some folks.  But hey!  I was a "missionary" before it was cool to be "missional."

And I'm concerned about how we do missions!  Desperately concerned!  Missional people - thinkers and practitioners - have to think about "missions" - where we cross cultures as well as latitudes and longitudes - in a different way.  Even good missional people do "foreign missions" in a goofy way!  There I said it.  Out loud!

Abraham Lincoln said something like this, "It is better to keep silent and be thought a fool, that to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

Well, there you go...

26 February 2009

Everybody puts their britches on one leg at a time...

Where do we get this stuff?

A precious, vivacious lady we've known for many years recently wrote to Phyllis:

Early in our ministry, the senior pastor's wife told me that I could never have friends; I would be lonely, and to NEVER tell anyone anything about what you are going through because they will use that against you. Go only go to GOD.

I lived with that fear for years...

Where does this kind of stuff come from (other than the pit!)?

It comes from our own insecurity and pride. Sure people will hurt you. But so what? Jesus kinda promised that in Matthew 5. Life is a lot of pain and disappointment even at it's best! But when we feel that no one can be trusted, we isolate ourselves. And blunt our ministry. When we see ministry as a "lonely road," we placlothesline2ce ourselves in a vulnerable spot. And get ambushed by the enemy of our souls with no friends around. When we lack transparency and humility, we set ourselves up as "super spiritual," only to be broken by circumstances and exposed as frauds when we have a problem.

It's not about looking good. It's about being good. And I've learned that there really no such thing as good guys and bad guys; there's only bad guys and Jesus. And He's the only good one.

And then today someone asked on FB, "What qualities do dysfunctional families have? Or what makes a family dysfunctional?"

And I answered:

Psychologists talk about dysfunctional families where abuse - mental, emotional, verbal, physical - happens and develops a pattern of codependency where everybody covers things up...

Probably WAY too much info for a simple question on FB... (smile) But I couldn't help myself...

The Church becomes dysfunctional when it has something to hide, when codependency runs rampant and leadership has a masquerade to uphold.

Come on guys (that's a generic term, but how I follow-up will make it seem that it's not...) as my Daddy said, "Everybody puts their britches on one leg at a time." We are all subject to many of the same temptations, failures, pains and sorrows.

When we refuse to be "normal," admit our frailty and that we actually have a "treasure in an earthen vessel," the Kingdom of God suffers!

Where do we get this stuff?

25 February 2009

To Russia With Love...

I'm planning a trip to Russia in a few days.

Now, I've been to Russia a bunch of times, but from Cyprus.  But this time I'm leaving from Pensacola-by-the-beaches and heading for Southern Russia near the Black Sea.

My Russian friend and “spiritual children,” Nicolai and Olga Markin, called and asked me to come especially to assist him and a gn&Oroup of Believers in establishing a house-church network in southern  Russia. We met when he and Olga lived in frozen (literally!) Siberia. We have been very close over the years and his heart is to see simple, organic churches established wherever he is!

And he wants my input in laying the foundations.

So I’m planning to go. And it's a big challenge in many ways. 

First... time.  With Globe's IGM going right now, finding a time away is a biggie.  But the schedule in the next few weeks permits me to be away.  thanks to the speakers - and Phyllis and Rebekah - for holding things while I'm away.

Second... money.  The two-week trip is around $4500 – above our regular expenses.  So, if you'd be interesting in supporting this venture, you can do so here at Globe International.  Just fill in all the blanks and put HATCHER in the "for."

Third... travel.  I'm flying and in airports for 28 hours going over and 25 returning.  Yikes!  I'm tired already, just thinking about it.  But I've arranged to fly into Sochi through Vienna rather than Moscow, so I'm thrilled.

Fourth... content.  But I also want to have the right "input" in Nick and Olga and "their people."  "Church" is such a delicate matter.  And laying foundations of freedom and structures of grace are so important.  And I would say especially so in Russia where so much has happened in the last decades.  Good, bad and ugly.

So pray for us...  I'm excited, but I go with fear and trembling.

24 February 2009

Home from Saginaw

Phyllis and I are back in sunny Pensacola, FL after a great weekend in snowy Saginaw, Michigan.snow creature

Phyllis was the guest speaker/minister at New Life Christian Fellowship's Ladies' Retreat while Ken Cline - the NLCF pastor - and I watched snow come down in buckets!

Sunday morning I spoke at  NLCF to a great group of folks who seem to love us.  (Which is quite a task!)  You can listen here and you can see the PowerPoint here.

I love those wonderful people and Ken and Joan.  Ken is a true spiritual son, who listens when I talk.  And the whole church has a heart for those who do not know Jesus, for the nations and a great vision to grow leaders for the Kingdom!


(BTW, that's not really me in the photo.  Just in case you were confused...)

Accountants give answers to economic woes...

20 February 2009

Sitting at the airport

When you sit waiting at the gate in an airport you can pretty much be assured that:

  • there will be some guy who plugs in his computer or DVD player and lays down on the floor to watch it as if he were in his living room...
  • a child will cry and whine and whine and cry for a reason that no one - not even the mother - can discern...
  • some guy will be wearing shorts and flip-flops even though there is snow on the ground...
  • someone will get angry at the gate attendant...
  • something will get spilled...
  • when you really want to hear what's being said on CNN, there will be a loud announcement on the PA about some flight departure in another part of the airport...
  • someone will talk on their cell phone for 45 minutes in a loud voice...
  • at least one woman will be wearing gold shoes...
  • someone will be reading a Christian book...
  • a deafening alarm will go off without any explanation...
  • people will jump up and run to board even though the gate attendant said please remain seated...
  • someone will have a new phone or gadget and you will really want one...
  • at least one person will look like he/she just got out of bed and came directly to the airport...
  • a guy in a tie will discuss business loudly over his cell phone...
  • you will stand in front of the counter and at least three gate attendants will ignore you while telling a funny story or discussing the work schedule...
  • at least one couple will be speaking excitedly to each other in a language you don't understand...

18 February 2009

Why I twitter

As usual, my friend Bill Kinnon...

(I really do know this guy.  I mean really.  He's Canadian.  And I know him.  He's like famous and yes - it's true, I know him.  He like goes to the Sundance Film Festival and talks to famous people.  He makes documentaries.  And I know him.  I mean I've had breakfast with him.  Really. And like lunch too.  And I even tried on his glasses to see how I'd look.  I mean, really, I know this guy.  I mean we'd even stop on the street if hypothetically I was like walking down the street - in the snow - like in Toronto,  we'd stop and talk.  I know him.  Really.  I do.)

...nails it about Twitter and why some of us do it.  Right here.

15 February 2009

The heart grows fonder...

This morning I woke up nostalgic.

I woke up missing things like:

  • I miss the snow in Cyprus... I miss that we could get in the car, drive to the mountains along the curving narrow road and get to Troodos and the snow.  Not much snow, usually.  But a cold crisp place.
  • I miss my friends in Egypt... Nathan called me yesterday.  He was in Los Angeles airport on his way to speak at a missions conference.  And just hearing his voice and making our usual jokes and laughing on the phone, made me miss Egypt and the great people I know there and even the Cairo traffic and the hustle and bustle.  When he asked me when I was coming, I got choked up.  I wish I was going soon...
  • I miss the guys in Morocco... A few weeks ago, I chatted on Skype with one of the leaders.  Again, we laughed at jokes (even typing them and reading them I could hear the laughter!) and discussed family and what God was doing.  And his question, "When are you coming?"
  • I miss Greek/Lebanese/Egyptian food... miss the smells, miss the flavor, miss the atmosphere.  Miss laughing with people over Middle Eastern kinda food...

But I'm going to Russia next month (!) and will be with my special friends, Nick and Olga!  We will spend time together and I'll do some teaching and training about simple church and see what value I can add - by God's grace - to what Nick and Olga (and maybe Jer and Kay)are doing there.

13 February 2009

Getting out of the bog... back on the highway

Growing up in the South, there are lots of words and phrases that have special meaning.  They give immediate "word pictures."  Say the phrase and you have a vivid picture in your mind.

One of these is the phrase "BOGGED DOWN."

The immediate picture in my head is of a 50's model car on a muddy unpaved road stuck up to it's axle in red Georgia mud. 

"Bogged down" means stuck.  A great car, meant for cruising the highway, but stuck where it is.  A vehicle for movement not going anywhere, kinda pitiful and pathetic.  Un-useful, unmoving, there in the mud.  Stuck.

I keep running into people who feel that they are "bogged down" in ministry, or "bogged down" in career, or "bogged down" in family and marriage.  Stuck.

And I have this amazing sense of empathy and concern that they are not living up to their God-given potential and are spending all their energy and all their time racing their engine, spinning their wheels, slinging the mud, but getting nowhere.  Except maybe deeper in the "bog."

They need help!

People who feel "bogged down" can't get out by themselves.  Somebody needs to be behind the wheel, foot on the gas giving energy from the front seat.  But somebody needs to get in the back and push!

As I've been moving toward certification as a Christian leadership coach, learning new things, developing new skills and beginning to coach "bogged down" people I see amazing things happen.

Seems like such a "God-thing" when you sense people drilling down into their hearts and situations to get out of the "bog" and back on the road.  Maybe a little dirtier from the experience, but moving down the highway!

I love being used by God!

10 February 2009

Just gimme some Gospel...

Just thinking this morning and I remembered a church back in the seventies that had as it's motto:

Anchored to The Book and Geared for the Times.

A wee bit corny, but at least expressing a sentiment that stuck in my mind for almost 40 years.  (40 years!)

And I keep thinking, are we really "anchored to The Book?"  And by that I'm concerned that we say we are, but even in saying that do we know what we mean? 

It's a hermeneutical problem.

We hold the Book as an authority - as a church and as a society. (After all President Obama swore to uphold the Constitution with his hand on Abraham Lincoln's Bible.  And apparently saying you will do something while actually touching a Bible means something...  Causes me to shrug.)

Perhaps our hermeneutical problem is all wrapped up in the term "Gospel."  It seems to me that running around between pulpit and pew, home and workplace, TV and Laz-e-boy, there are both "the Gospel of Jesus" and the "Gospel about Jesus."  Subtle distinction, but nonetheless, real. 

The "Gospel about Jesus" talks about who He was, what He did and said, and what that meant and means for us.  It has been compacted and formularized so that it can be told in an elevator, between floors.  It has incorporated short-hand phrases and idioms (like "born-again" and "rapture") so that it can be reproduced easily and quickly.  It seems to use caricatures of people, places and events. It is concerned about salvation and escape from hell, punishment and judgement. It's pretty much about another world; not this one.  It's pretty easy (sorta).  It's about what Jesus did.  Bang!  And that's basically The Book.  Anchor me here.

But then there's this pesky "Gospel of Jesus." It's hard to put into any A+B=C kinda formula.  It's illusive and complicated.  The "Gospel of Jesus" is more about who He is and the good news of how He ushered in a new world order in which we  - as Jesus-followers - participate.  Seems to be more about us entering into something, perpetuating something and being in this world to change this world.

The Gospel of Jesus (that Paul says he preached) is more about integrating who He is and what He practiced and taught into our lives.  And the taking His Gospel (after all it is the "Gospel of Jesus") in word and deed into the world.  Make sense?

The "Gospel of Jesus" is about proclaiming the extension of grace by feeding the poor, clothing the naked, loving the love-less, accepting the disenfranchised and fixing the broken.  The "Gospel of Jesus" is good news to anyone who listens.  This "Gospel of Jesus" is a pain in the ego; a hindrance to social advancement. 


But it seems to me that it's the kind of Book to which I can be anchored.

I probably shouldn't have even began writing about this, because I've only half-expressed my heart.  And answered none of my questions.  I'm sure I've kinda just muddied the waters and never explained what I mean. 

But I'm concerned that this Gospel, from this Book be real, relevant and reliable.  That the Story of the Book be told with compassion and power in it's complicated entirety.  And that seems to best be done in actions as the Gospel of Jesus.

And, hey!  Gimme a break.  It's in process.  I'm just trying to gear for the times...

09 February 2009


Lord, I need a dream worth giving my life to.

I need a life worth waking up to each morning.

I need a mission bigger than me.

I want to believe for not only me, but also for this world.


(A Prayer by Erwin McManus)

06 February 2009

Are you finishing strong?

Sometimes we forget that falling is not the problem, cause we all fall.  In something; sometimes.  And failure is part of the human experience.  Just is.

But the important thing is that we get up!  We GET UP! 

Dadbobit!  We just get up.  We don't lay there and cry.  We don't pull an irrational I-didn't-make-it-onto-American Idol-but-my mama-said-I-could-sing (!) rant!

We get up.  And start all over again.  We just do!

04 February 2009

Fearfully and wonderfully made! That would be us!

I'm doing a wee teaching seminar this weekend on BUILDING ON YOUR STRENGTHS - GOD MADE YOU AWESOME!

So here are some of my thoughts, sort of a pre-seminar taster...

  • I've come to conclude that the Imago Dei is perhaps "bigger" in us as humans than we evangelicals have thought...
  • God has created humanity - men and women - in his image and that image, though tarnished and cracked by sin and our ungodly environment (the world) is strong...
  • (one author says we're "cracked eikons")
  • We are often more conscious of our "fallen-ness" than our our innate barbellsstrengths...
  • We are mostly more concerned about weaknesses than we are strengths...
  • We are afraid to recognize our strengths and therefore cannot actually build on them...
  • We should use our strengths to manage our weaknesses... (I talked a little about this on Sunday at Harvest@5...)
  • There are patterns in our life that display our strengths...

Anyway, it's two sessions - Friday night at 7PM and Saturday morning at 9.  We'll do this in the classroom at Globe International.

And I'm totally pumped!  God has truly made us awesome!

03 February 2009

What would I do with the money?

Just so you know, today is my lucky day!

By email I have been informed that:

  • I won the British lottery of GBP 3 million...
  • I have been chosen to administrate $6,400,000.00 for charities and 30% of this is my fee for such administration... (humm, let me calculate that...)
  • I won a $1000 IKEA gift card... (although I;m not sure where the nearest IKEA actually is...)
  • And a $1000 Wal-Mart gift card...
  • I can get 250 free business cards...
  • I have won 5 Iphones from 5 different generous emailers...
  • I can order 8 - yes I said 8 - Shamwows for just $19.95...
  • I can shed pounds quick with Acai (Oprah swears by it, so I guess I should)...
  • Someone in Holland, who is a Kenyan wants me to administrate the $9.5 million estate of the Saudi husband for 10%...
  • I can grow other parts of my anatomy safely and inexpensively...
  • I can  order printer ink from Nevada and save lots of money...
  • Mrs. Marina Litvinenko, wife of Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian security officer who died in a London hospital after apparently being poisoned with the highly-toxic metal thallium by Mr Lugovoi,a Russian Government paid agent wants me to administrate $3.5 million, of which 65% will come to our ministry...

So, today is my lucky day! 

My biggest problem (besides finding a use for 8 Shamwows!) is finding time to do all this administrative work.  And how in the world did these people hear of my fantastic (and yet untapped!) administrative abilities?  Have they seen my desk?  Probably not.

It's not a problem of how I'd spend all that money!  Nope.  Remember, I'm a missionary and all that money is just a drop in the bucket for the vision and ideas I have for ministry!

Kinda like when somebody asked my Grandfather, "What would you do with a million dollars?" He scratched his head and said, "Well, I'd just keep farming til it was all used up!"

That's missionary thinking!  What would I do with all that money?  Just keep doing the same thing I'm doing... but I might buy a new pair of shoes and sit closer to the front in the airplane...