Sunday, November 27, 2022

Anticipation for Jesus Birth

Anticipation gives me such joy! I love looking forward to something, sometimes I get a ticklish feeling runing up and down my spine as I anticipate something fun. It makes me wiggle and giggle.

Yet, there are times that when I anticipate something that it takes too long and it falls into the category of waiting. I do not like waiting. It makes me feel heavy and sluggish. It feels like a burden. 

I imagine the anticipation and wait for the birth of Jesus brought about both of those feelings. There were those that were so excited that they felt their spine tickle, but the wait was long. You really need to know why you are waiting to get the joy of aniticipation when it is a long wait.

Just before the birth of Jesus there were 400 years of silence from God. There were no prophets giving His messages. They had to focus on what they knew. They knew the Messiah or Savior of the world was coming, but not when. They needed to prepare their hearts to give Him room when He arrived, but didn't know the day or time. 

The last of the birth pangs before Jesus' arrival were long and laborious. The wait was hard.

Today, we start the advent season anticipating the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Christmas is such a happy time because it is when God's presence comes in human form. Christmas is the fulfillment of the Messiah's arrival. 

He came to us as a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes. Heaven's gift, Emmanuel, which means God with us. We no longer are waiting His first arrival. He has arrived. He has made a way for all men to draw into the presence of God and know the gift of eternal life.

Join me in celebrating the birth of Jesus on this first day of advent. Here is the first story in our series.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Why do I model a simple telling of God's Word?

Why do I model a simple telling of God's Word? 

Is it because I don't like drama, skits, or musicals?  Not at all. Those each have a time and place for presentation. I love them and they can be a great asset in drawing someone to the LORD if done properly in the right cultural context.

If someone is hearing the Word for the first time, I have a responsibility to tell it in such a way that they hear it clearly and can repeat it clearly. I want them to be able to replicate what I have done.

A simple telling is easily reproducible. 

It is the first step of learning a story. It is the foundation of good storytelling.

When I lead trainings, I always start with how to recall a story as the first basic element. I have a responsibility as an educator to establish a good foundation to build on.

The pattern is listen, learn, share. 

When our partners observe this model in other countries, they get so excited because it is so easy to follow. I am often told "Thank you! This is so easy. We can do this!"

Often, material is presented in highly literate methods and reproducing it seems difficult. When they see our books, posters, PowerPoints, dramas, wardrobes, digital media, etc. It feels daunting because they may not have these readily available and this then makes it appear that God's Word is not accessible in their context. 

Often we do not realize how those watching us will think I must copy everything they do. This is true right down to how we dress. If I only teach with a robe on then those watching determine they must wear robes. The focus moves from telling the story to the outer appearance of the leader or even the material.

A simple telling guards the purity of God's Word and what is perceived about the role of the teller.

Once a basic storytelling is established, we will then learn how to ask good questions and model different learning styles. 

The goal of asking good questions will be to help them discover from God's Word the truths that the Holy Spirit is revealing to them in their context. It isn't about me teaching them what I know. 

The goal of using different learning styles will be to encourage the person in their context to reproduce the Word through their arts: drawing, drama, skits, music, poetry, digital media,  etc. 

The key is that they are the creator of the art form to take place not me. This lends it to be culturally relevant and reproducible in their context.

A simple telling of God's Word is foundational. If done well, then those listening and learning will immediately start dreaming about how to share it in their context. Dreams of dramas, skits, poetry, art, and digital media will be envisioned as they seek to communicate God's story to their people in their ways. A good basic telling opens the door for the Holy Spirit to unleash His creativity in them to create and tell His story well in their culture and context.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

I am in Awe of GOD!

I am reading Job with the intention to focus on what I learn about the character of God. It has added a whole new layer to my understanding of the book of Job, but also the beauty of knowing God in our suffering. 

I am asking myself to reflect on what I learn about the character of God through Job and even his friends.  If you have never studied Job, you need to understand that his friends are known for talking too much and blaming Job for His suffering. 

As I am reading Job to know God, I am focusing on HIM instead of the inadequacies of Job or his friends. I am discovering that I am walking in a deeply rich worship experience that causes me to write out prayers that are inspiring to my heart, my soul, and my spirit. And as crazy as it sounds, they often feel poetic to me. They are a beautiful conversation between me and God.

Today, I was blown away by the beauty of how God's creation displays His wonders. God sets boundary lines in creation that man cannot undo. Like the existence of light and dark. We can add light to dark but we cannot undo day and night or the pattern of their existence.

I am astounded as I ponder the crushing of the earth to form rocks that can be cut into brilliant diamonds.  Hidden treasures we can discover, explore, and even do our own creating. If we dig deep enough we find math and science revealed in these discoveries. Holding patterns and equations that give us clever beauty. 

I am in awe! I am basking in His wonderful creation allowing myself to behold His beauty as He displays His splendor for us to explore. Immeasurable. Unfathomable.  Mysterious. Consistent. Ingenious. Divine. 

I am in awe of God!

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Unconventional Ministry Podcast Interview on Story-Centric Discipleship in Bible Engagement

What a blessing! I was interviewed on Unconventional Ministry Podcast by Dennis Weins. 

My family always said I was Unconventional! LOL! 

What an honor and privilege!

Thank you Coleen Becker Black for the connection. Your introduction at the Grace Alumni Event made this possible. 

Dennis was an incredible interviewer that truly grasped the value of what I do as an oral strategist with Bible Engagement at Audio Scripture Ministries.

Feeling unexpectedly honored and excited for good fruit to be born through this podcast.

I'm listening to Unconventional Ministry | How Story-centric Discipleship Could Change Your Church on Podbean, check it out! 

https://www.podbean.com/ei/pb-pjceq-12fbc3f

Unconventional Ministry Podcast