Sunday, April 30, 2006

Global Night Commute Tulsa

As you can see it was a damp night at Tulsa's Global Night Commute. Fortunately, the rain held off after the initial dousing. Here are a few random reflections on a memorable night.

As I lay down to a very uncomfortable bed I couldn't help but imagine how the northern Ugandan children feel when they lay down to sleep every night. For them it must be a relief knowing they should be safe from the kidnapping rebels for the night. They must also be worn out from their long commute to their bed. I can only imagine how they don't even know and understand what a good night sleep is and to have their own bed in their own home.

I was happy to see how many Christians were part of this event. It was great praising and worshiping God with complete strangers. We sang, reflected from God's word and lifted the children of northern Uganda up to God in prayer until about 2 a.m.

I didn't care for the driveby honkings that jarred me awake several times. Somebody here in Tulsa has a serious fog horn or something on their car! It's hard to sleep when you're cold and your outside in the middle of hundreds of people. I wonder how often the Ugandan kids actually reach the deep stages of sleep.

I was also mindful and thankful that we didn't have to deal with malaria carrying mosquitoes like the invisible children do. As they sleep crammed in buildings together I know the feast those mosquitoes are having and the unfortunate and often deadly sickness that follows for those children.

If they only had Waffle House in Gulu, Uganda. Greg Taylor and I went across the street for a Waffle House outing at 5:15. Not sure if that was against the rules or not but it was obvious a large contingent of GNCers had just been there. We met an extremely joyful waitress named Kristmas who without asking us seated us with another GNCer who had just gotten there. I don't believe it was just coincidence that Kristmas seated us with Alan, a sophomore at ORU, who just happens to be majoring in Bible and interested in going to Uganda for missions some day. Greg and I were able to share a lot of our experiences and insights. I'm still trying to figure out if Kristmas was an angel or not.

As usual, these experiences are often most powerful done together in community. A group from Garnett Church of Christ and the Contact Church of Christ working in inner city Tulsa reserved us a space on their tarp. Above is a picture of Shannon Russell, who worked hard to coordinate the Tulsa event, Greg Taylor and myself as we were packing up this morning.

I pray this is just the beginning of greater awareness for not only the children of northern Uganda but children all over Africa who suffer from war, poverty and lack of opportunity.

Anyone else go to GNC? I'd love to hear what you took away from the event.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Invisible Children

Are you going to Invisible Children's Global Commute Night this Saturday night? I can't think of a better cause to get behind.

Jason, Laren and Bobby are getting great press this week leading up to it. Oprah, National papers, etc. It's amazing what God can do through just a few with a passionate heart for Him and His people.

If you're here in Tulsa, Shannon Russell from Garnett Church of Christ is coordinating the event to be held at Mardels on 71st Street.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Hotel Church?

I've never seen those two words go together before. My good friend and Jinja teammate, Brent Abney, just shared this great article about the Portland Eastside Foursquare Church. They're a church body that purchased a hotel and are attacking prostitution and drugs head on while reaching out daily to others around them. Hotel profits go directly to help the needy in their community. Business as mission can play out in so many different ways and places. It may look strange but it often leads us to the same people that Jesus hung out with.

It reminds me of the strange feeling I had when our team first purchased the church and Source Cafe's building at Plot 20 Main Street in Jinja. Our "church building" housed 3 bars for a time until they had time to transition and we replaced them with a more positive community environment.

Even then we still had bars on both sides of us. One night someone set a bomb off in the bar not 10 feet from our building. The son of the owner sustained terrible leg injuries and we were there to help and pray over them in the days afterwards. For several weeks he couldn't go far with his leg injuries but the good thing was he didn't have to go far to attend church. I always loved it when I'd see him and his mom slowly make their way in to worship with us.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Top Reasons for Business As Mission

Presenting these ideas at the Tulsa Workshop was great. I'm thankful I had the opportunity. I hope this is just the beginning of a growing and exciting movement called Business As Mission (BAM), or using business people and business in general as a tool to expand God's Kingdom. It makes so much sense in today's world.

Here's a few of the reasons why....

  1. BAM provides a model for sustainable missions, overcoming chronic problems of dependency in developing countries and encouraging greater stewardship of money worldwide.
  2. BAM takes much needed and sought after business expertise, technology and capital from the developed world to developing countries creating greater economic justice.
  3. BAM creates jobs! And with it empowers and gives dignity to many lives.
  4. BAM grows the local economy and blesses the nation.
  5. BAM provides access to many locations and relationships, especially the increasing number of nations now considered closed to missionaries.
  6. BAM presents the gospel by word through meaningful relationships.
  7. BAM presents the gospel by deed.
  8. BAM enables local funding of the church.
  9. BAM taps into a highly underutilized yet highly capable resource in the church - businesspeople. They get a chance to give more than just their money but their lives as well.
  10. BAM is a valuable partner for more traditional mission efforts lending towards desired holistic ministry efforts.
  11. There's a great opportunity in our world today. Business is going global, mission shouldn't be left behind.
  12. BAM helps economically blessed Christians fulfill the commands of Jesus - see Matthew 25:40 and surrounding verses as well as 1 John 3:17.

For those of you who heard my story of The Source business mission project in Jinja, Uganda, you'll be able to apply each of the above points easily to that effort. If you would like to hear the story yourself you can order the cd here. I also hope to write the Source story up more formally in the coming months to be published. I'll let you know when it will be available.

May God conceive new mission efforts and move in more businesspeople to serve where He is already working in this world. May BAM help to fulfill the Great Commission given to us by Jesus. May BAM bless the lives of needy people throughout this world.