Relational Poverty

When I was a youth pastor, I’d take annual foreign mission trips with my students. And leading up to the trip we’d have training and prep to do. Of the many talks we would have, one in particular was about the difference between relative poverty and absolute poverty.

One shows a poverty existing only in comparison to what you possess/own.
The other is a state of poverty in which a person/people have no capability to live.

And sure enough, while on the trip, I’d have one-on-one conversations with students who were struggling seeing people who had food, shelter, and family BUT didn’t possess what (in their American mindset) was anything suitable for their personal standard for living. They’d see children playing and families singing but couldn’t wrap their minds around how they could possess that type of heart without the “possessions” that make us Americans comfortable.

I miss those trips with students.
I miss de-briefing with them.
I miss hearing how much they learned about what really matters in the Kingdom of God.
I miss seeing them begin to engage in their worlds because their faith deepened from leaving for a week, unplugging from the world they knew, and plugging into community and mission.

But there’s another type of poverty that I see growing. I’ll call it, “relational poverty.” we live in a day and age of loneliness and isolation. We live in a time of having thousands of social media friends and followers but nobody to have a conversation with. We’ve replace handshakes and hugs with “likes” and “favorites.” One on end, someone feels like they’ve reached out because they clicked a button on a status. On the other end, a person searches for something else to post in order to get their next stimulating fix from social media attention.

We don’t have an absence of connection; we have an absence of contact.

We live in an age of relational poverty. We know a lot of people. But we don’t really know them” and/or nobody really knows us.

This has been something I’ve pondered over the past month in our series on faith here at Kfirst called “The 13th Floor.” We’ve been exploring what faith is and how to operate in it. And as I’m going over a number of study-notes I see a small bullet point I typed out a few months ago that caught my eye:

“Faith grows best in community.”

What does this have to do with relational poverty? Everything.

From the beginning of time, we were created to be in community/relationship with others and with God. And the results of the “original sin” was to attack those relationships (blame each other and God) and to isolate (hide) ourselves. No wonder why God said “it is not good for man to be alone.” I believe this was more than a statement about marriage but a state of our being. We were created to be in and operate in relationship with others.

And I truly believe that’s where faith grows best.

It’s no wonder that one of the greatest attacks to faith in Christ in an age of over-connection is to impoverish us of relationships. We can’t find unity of faith in denominations because we live in constant criticism of others. We can’t celebrate faith because we envy what someone else has been blessed with. We have immature faith because we do not seek out the mentorship (spiritual fathers and mothers) of those who’ve gone before us. We can’t develop faith though dialogue because we haven’t learned how to disagree “agreeably” on surface issues and live in agreement on the foundational things of Jesus. We can’t pass on faith  because we’re too busy attacking/despising another generation instead of celebrating what makes the other distinct so that we can learn from each other.

I believe in being a person of prayer. I believe in being in the Scriptures daily. I believe in living a life of worship. Those are necessary for nourishing the soul. But without relationships, I would truly question how can faith actually exist and grow.

Why do I still believe in the Church? Because my faith isn’t in the Church but in Jesus. And because my faith is in Jesus, it allows me to navigate relationships without the expectations in people who I should have in Christ alone. He is the “author” of my faith (Hebrews 12:1), and He “perfects” grows it. And I believe that faith growth happens best in community.

And it’s in the community of Church that my faith is challenged and deepened by interacting with people of various backgrounds and generations. It’s in those relationships I can celebrate what God is doing in others to give me challenge and hope for my own faith. I find my faith grown as I sit with others in dialogue and civil conversation. I find my faith strengthened when I see people of a variety of color, nationality, background, and economics come together under the name of Jesus.

Would you take a huge step of faith this week? Make a relational initiation of contact with someone. Sit for coffee or a meal with someone you don’t normally connect with. Find someone of a younger generation to learn from. Find a peer to sit with an encourage. Call up someone of an older generation and inquire of their story. Seek out someone of a difference race to listen and learn.

Get in community. Watch the level of relational poverty diminish and faith rise in His Church.

 

Love you all. Praying for you.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “Lead the Receiver” #13thFloor

Today I want to give you a place to start your week. It’s Monday and in the wake of a great weekend and a workweek ahead, sometimes you just need a “kickstart” to get focused.  So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together.

Ever wonder why you’ve never stayed in a hotel room on the 13th floor? The answer is simple: The floor doesn’t “exist.” Some hotels skip the number 13 and go straight to 14 when numbering floors. As rational thought will dictate, hotels and buildings higher than 12 floors of course have a 13th floor, however, they do away with it by simply renaming it something else. In other words, though a 13th floor exists, it’s not always seen or noticed.

I think faith is the 13th Floor. We don’t see it, but we know it’s there. And it to be seen, it needs to be accessed. We all know of faith, but to really to know faith, must experience faith. This month, we step onto the “13th Floor” as we walk together in this new series on faith.

Sunday, we continued this “dreamer’s” story. Now in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, God is blessing him in the place of his incarceration. It is here where “isolation” begins to test the dreams he’s had.

Check yesterday out either from the website or from the Facebook livestream:

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

  • “Faith is not some fragile thing that shatters when we walk through something hard.” Pat Barrett
  • The words in my mouth are the reflection of the faith I possess in my heart.
  • You don’t need to be talking specifically about Jesus to say something about Jesus.
  • Your words are the echo of your heart.
  • The Language of Faith (Hebrews 11:3)
    • (1) Forms (for the purposes of God).
    • (2) Put things into order (take out of chaos).
    • (3) Equips for the intended purpose (position to follow Jesus).
  • Never doubt the power of speaking words of life into another.
  • Faith sees the Kingdom, speaks about it, and acts upon it.
  • When we don’t speak words of faith, we rob people (including ourselves) of blessing.
  • Heavenly Father give me the wisdom to HOLD my words until I am certain they are in the center of Your heart. Holy Spirit empower me to GUARD my words so I never have to be embarrassed when they are brought into Your light. Jesus, REFINE my words until they honor You, reflect your beauty, and become uplifting to the people around me. #13thFloorPrayer #13thFloor

Love you all. Have an amazing week.

BTW: Here’s the new song from today:

 

 

Sitting in My Faith #13thFloor

Have them sit down…” Luke 9:14

We’ve been in a series at Kfirst called the “13th Floor.”

And for those of you who don’t attend, the reason we call it the “13th Floor” comes from how many hotels approach that floor. Some of them skip the number 13 and go straight to 14 when numbering floors. As rational thought will dictate, hotels and buildings higher than 12 floors of course have a 13th floor, however, they do away with it by simply renaming it something else. In other words, though a 13th floor exists, it’s not always SEEN or NOTICED.

I think faith is the 13th Floor. We don’t see it, but we know it’s there. And it to be seen, it needs to be accessed. We all know of faith, but to really to know faith, must experience faith. Faith is our “13th Floor.”

As I was going through my study notes from last week, I was perusing through the “left-over” stuff that didn’t make it to the message. I came across some thoughts from Luke 9. It was four simple words that spoke to me about faith.

Have them sit down…”

5000+ people have been listening intently to Jesus. They’ve come from around the region to see the man whom they’ve heard about. And now, they’re hungry. You know how that feels when you are enjoying a pastor’s message but thinking about heading to Qdoba after church.

Jesus’ staff (disciples) noticed the people were hungry ajd where they were at wasn’t able to offer anything to them (verse 12). The day was long, the ministry was good, but the people were in need. And then those four words come in…

Have them sit down…”

Why do I see these words as powerful and impactful? They convey a posture of rest, trust and expectation.

In a series where we’ve defined faith as both INVITATION and ACTIVATION (“I do what I believe“), sometimes the activity of your faith is as simple as sitting down so that we can invite His activity in us. It’s resting at His feet. It is calming yourself in the midst of your what you’re facing to trust in Him.

Sit down.

Our attention is pulled in fifty different directions by people, tasks, and devices. In a culture of massive activity where busyness equates to productivity, taking a moment to sit in the presence of Jesus and receive from Him can be just what your faith needs in order to grow deeper. There’s something about the posture of sitting that stills us so that we can receive what we’d most likely miss because we won’t stop moving. Sitting is posturing yourself in a way that INVITES HIS ACTIVITY in your life.

Sitting. It conveys rest, trust, expectation. 

You want to deepen your faith? Sit. Take a moment to rest in His presence so that He can give you strength and wisdom. As you rest in him, trust your day to Him. Invite His leading and provision for what you need to face the day. Listen for His voice to grow expectation in your heart.

And when you’re done with INVITING, take your faith and make it ACTIVE in you life.

Love you all. Praying for you today as you live you life on the “13th Floor.”

But before you go…sit.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “The Angle of Expectation” #13thFloor

Today I want to give you a place to start your week. It’s Monday and in the wake of a great weekend and a workweek ahead, sometimes you just need a “kickstart” to get focused.  So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together.

Ever wonder why you’ve never stayed in a hotel room on the 13th floor? The answer is simple: The floor doesn’t “exist.” Some hotels skip the number 13 and go straight to 14 when numbering floors. As rational thought will dictate, hotels and buildings higher than 12 floors of course have a 13th floor, however, they do away with it by simply renaming it something else. In other words, though a 13th floor exists, it’s not always seen or noticed.

I think faith is the 13th Floor. We don’t see it, but we know it’s there. And it to be seen, it needs to be accessed. We all know of faith, but to really to know faith, must experience faith. This month, we step onto the “13th Floor” as we walk together in this new series on faith.

Sunday, we continued this “dreamer’s” story. Now in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, God is blessing him in the place of his incarceration. It is here where “isolation” begins to test the dreams he’s had.

Check yesterday out either from the website or from the Facebook livestream:

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

  • Faith is the invitation and the activation of the kingdom of God in your life.
  • Faith is living in the tension between what IS and what it OUGHT to be.
  • Reviewing victory doesn’t take faith; previewing it does.
  • God may not meet your expectations, but He will always meet your needs.
  • Stop basing your expectations off of the limitations someone has spoken over you.
  • Just because your progress isn’t obvious doesn’t mean your faith isn’t working.
  • Stop giving yourself expectations that Jesus hasn’t give you.
  • We grow deep in our faith in Jesus so we have something to offer others.
  • You can’t have expectation in your faith if you have no intention of living it.

https://twitter.com/DawnHause/status/1059114908338569218

Love you all. Have an amazing week.

BTW: Here’s the song from the end of our service.

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “The Preview” #13thFloor

Today I want to give you a place to start your week. It’s Monday and in the wake of a great weekend and a workweek ahead, sometimes you just need a “kickstart” to get focused.  So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together.

Ever wonder why you’ve never stayed in a hotel room on the 13th floor? The answer is simple: The floor doesn’t “exist.” Some hotels skip the number 13 and go straight to 14 when numbering floors. As rational thought will dictate, hotels and buildings higher than 12 floors of course have a 13th floor, however, they do away with it by simply renaming it something else. In other words, though a 13th floor exists, it’s not always seen or noticed.

I think faith is the 13th Floor. We don’t see it, but we know it’s there. And it to be seen, it needs to be accessed. We all know of faith, but to really to know faith, must experience faith. This month, we step onto the “13th Floor” as we walk together in this new series on faith.

Sunday, we continued this “dreamer’s” story. Now in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, God is blessing him in the place of his incarceration. It is here where “isolation” begins to test the dreams he’s had.

Check yesterday out either from the website or from the Facebook livestream:

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

  • Faith is the invitation and the activation of the kingdom of God in your life.
  • Rules of faith:
    • Rule 1: Faith begins with God; He is the author of our faith (Hebrews 12:2)
    • Rule 2: God is able; He carries what He starts.
    • Rule 3: We go forward in faith (faith is activated).
  • Faith is believing BEFORE what will only make sense AFTER.
  • With faith, God is able; without faith, we are not able.
  • What God authors in your heart, He finishes in your life.
  • Faith is a way of living with God as your source and God as your focus.
  • Faith isn’t blind. It’s open eyed obedience.
  • Faith doesn’t eliminate struggles. It shows you how to handle them.

Love you all. Have an amazing week.

BTW: Here’s the song from the end of our service.