31 May 2007

The City: The Urbanization of the World

In 1950, there were seven cities in the world that had reached a population of five million people: New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo-Yokohama, Buenos Aires, and Shanghai. Now, there are over 50 cities over five million. The world is exponentially becoming urban. The future of the world is one of cities. We can not discuss the future without discussing the cities.

When Jesus called us to serve Him, He wanted our entire lives. Servants go where the master asks them to go. When we consider where we are going to live, we must understand that we are going to be missionaries there. Where we live does not depend so much on our own ideas of comfort and serenity, but more on where we can serve in Jesus’ movement. If we are going to live lives that focus on serving Jesus, we will have to understand the social trends going on across the globe. The global population shift is a migration to the cities. As global population continues to increase so will the number of mega-cities. This is a planet of great cities.

This is a huge problem for the primarily rural and suburbanized Christianity of America. If the American church would only see the potential held in this global shift to the cities, we could take hold of this shift and use it for the furthering of the movement of Jesus. In the cities, there are millions of people within walking distance. Churches in the cities can reach millions of people just within a few square miles. Talk about a mission for the Gospel! You can’t get that anywhere other than the cities!

Ralph Winter once said that the last great frontier for the Gospel is the cities. With a view of the global shift back to the cities, I think he’s certainly right.

29 May 2007

The City: Introduction

For those who know me well, you know that God has placed in my heart the passion to minister in an urban environment. I’m not sure which city, but I know that God is asking me to serve in that sort of environment. As long as I actually keep up with this blog, I am planning on starting a series of posts entitled “The City.” These posts will wrestle with concepts about urban ministry, what the urban church should look like, why we should go to the cities, why we should feel responsible for the cities, God’s view of the city, the church’s relationship with the city, cities in Scripture.

I want to put in a disclaimer for these posts as well. Most of these ideas are not original to me. This series of posts are only a collection of thoughts on urban ministry and theology from various pastors, thinkers, visionaries, etc. A few of these people are Erwin McManus, Mark Driscoll, Tim Keller, and Ray Bakke. I'll start them soon! Check back!

The House!

Here's the pictures of our house in Kentucky! We're still moving in and Brandon is bringing most of the living room furniture when he moves in next week. Go to this link to check out our awesome house!

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2002799&l=4f934&id=141700083

24 May 2007

Life Update

So it has definitely been over two months since I last posted. To all the hundreds of disappointed and anxious readers who have been faithfully waiting for a new post (haha), I am sorry. College took all my time. I should re-word that: Living at college took all my time. My classes really didn't. So here's my unordered rambling to update my life situation. I apologize if it's all over the place.

Since last posting, I spent most of that time finishing my undergrad at Southern Wesleyan University. I graduated on Saturday, May 12. Life at SWU was great! This last semester was academically light, only taking 12 hours. I learned some about playing piano in my piano class. That was cool, although I didn't practice near what I should have. I also took guitar class with Tim Lee. I decided I wanted to do something musical with my last two elective hours.

As a senior with horrible "senioritis," I skipped two half-weeks of classes in April. Paul, Micah and I left on a Wednesday to spend the remainder of the week at a beach house owned by Paul's grandfather. We came back on Sunday. Good times! For some pictures, go to my facebook photo album labeled, "The Adventures of the 'Shut Up and Fish' Hat."

Then, a week after getting back, Paul, Micah, Steve, and I led worship for the Gaston Area Youth Revival. It started Sunday night and went through Wednesday night. However, we had problems getting a drummer each night. Steve could only be there on Sunday and Wednesday night and the replacement drummer had to bail on playing the other nights. So I became the "utility musician" for the week. On Sunday and Wednesday night, I played electric guitar for most of the songs, but I also played a synth keyboard run through a MacBook on a couple songs. On Monday and Tuesday night, we went down to an acoustic set. Paul and Micah played acoustic guitars and I played a djembe (a West African, skin-covered hand drum that's shaped like a really big goblet). So, not only did I play electric guitar, but I also publicly debuted on the keys and djembe. It was crazy. I loved playing the djembe though. I discovered that deep down inside, I really desire to be a drummer. I love it. Maybe one day I'll learn to handle a full drum kit.

I've had another new development in my life since last posting. It all started almost two months ago when this girl at SWU would not stop stalking me! I mean, she was crazy! She was following me to class, standing outside my apartment waiting for me, following me when I drove to Wal-Mart, and showing up every time when I went to a restaurant! She would stare in that little window on the doors in Brower. She even started wooing me with Cheerwine! Now that's underhanded, a stalker using Cheerwine like that! Well, I guess it worked...

Okay, so I'm totally joking. There is no stalker. No one is following me to class, standing outside my apartment, or following me around. However, there is a wonderful and beautiful girl who has done her share of wooing me with Cheerwine! Kindel is great! She made my last month of college even better than it was already! Although starting a relationship a month before moving to Kentucky is not the most logical thing to do, I'm slowly learning that life isn't always about being logical and practical. Sometimes there are portions of life that logic and practicality know nothing about. Kindel, thank you for opening your heart to me! I deeply appreciate all the time we have spent together and I hope there is much more time to be spent!

Now about the "moving to Kentucky" thing. I graduated from Southern Wesleyan on May 12. Well, I decided that I didn't have enough student loans, so I thought I'd go to graduate school. Seriously, I left SWU with a degree in Religion with concentrations in Christian Ministries and Bible. The CM major was strong in practical ministry courses and even some foundational courses (theology, Greek, etc.). However, even with adding the Bible concentration, I feel rather inept at understanding, interpreting, and teaching the Scriptures. If I am to be living by these Scriptures and also teaching others by these Scriptures for the rest of my life, I better have a good handle on how to fully understand them with historical, cultural, literary, and theological context. So, I decided to pursue a graduate degree at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. I will be working towards a M.A. in Biblical Studies. It's a 60 hour program that I hope to complete sometime in 2009.

This week I have been moving into my house!!! Yes, a house! Not an apartment, not a loft, not a dorm room! A house! Benji, Brandon, Russell and I are renting a house in Wilmore. It's a four bedroom and two bathroom house. It's fully furnished with appliances, such as fridge, oven, microwave, washer, dryer, and even a dishwasher! I drove up here through the night Monday night in a U-Haul truck towing my Civic behind it. Benji and I met our landlord Tuesday morning. She walked us through the house, told us some stuff we needed to know for upkeep of the house and handed us our keys. She seems to be really awesome. I think she'll be a great landlord. Benji and I have been moving in all of our stuff since Tuesday morning. It is chaos, but we're getting settled in slowly. Brandon will be moving in sometime next week and Russell will join us sometime in early July. We've already met one of our neighbors. Ironically, it is the ex-wife of Benji's roommate at the duplex he lived in until moving to this house. That was somewhat of an awkward greeting to the neighborhood.

I think that wraps up my life up to this point. I'm typing this in my house with boxes all around (most are thankfully now empty). I will be doing lots of job-hunting today so I can pay my new bills. Oh yeah...I also bought a MacBook last week. It rocks! Oh... I also was in Maine for a few days last week for Todd and Corrie's wedding. The wedding was great! When Corrie turned the corner to come down the aisle, Todd lost it! There is only a handful of times that I can remember seeing a man cry like that. It was awesome! I also boiled and ate a lobster. It was really messy, but it was good. I also ate a dozen Tim Hortons doughnuts. There was a 24 hour Tim Hortons a mile from the house that all the guys were staying at. So, all 8 of us guys definitely frequented it about twice a day each day! That wasn't the healthiest choice, but it's not everyday that I get Tim Hortons doughnuts!

Okay, now I think that is it. I'll be back soon now that I have free time!