Magic.

Today we celebrate a magic, spirit, and mystery that has echoed through time for two thousand years and will continue even after time has served its purpose. There has never been an event whose flame would not, when compared to this day, snuff itself out in reverence. A humble moment that heaven had anticipated for the existence of man– if not for an eternity.  A girl sitting on the cold ground began to yell– and all of creation leaned in and maybe forgot to breathe, for it was about to meet its Maker once again. An army of angels took their knee and dared not blink and risk missing this.. Their mighty Lord and King taking the form of a helpless and defenseless infant totally dependent on his young, first time parents. Shepherds approached speechless and utterly astounded to find that they, with no offering and no bath, had been the only ones invited to this scene. They would never know their presence that night would assure all those who would hear of this epic story that everything about it was and was done for the unlikely.

It’s truly an amazing thing we celebrate, amigos. Merry Christmas to you.

J

More.

I saw a video the other day. It was of a bottle cap full of water sitting on a music speaker. That’s it. Pretty simple. But friends, the beauty that this installation artist uncovered is spectacular. Take a quick look:

I was struck by the thought of the extent of God’s creativity far exceeding what we think we know or have noticed. We look at a sunrise or sunset and marvel at the masterpiece that it is. We stand on top of a mountain and look out across plains, rivers, and onto more mountain peaks in the distance and say “wow, God is so amazing.” We lay in the grass on a clear night somewhere away from the light pollution that robs us of this majesty in the city, stare into the black sky littered with stars, planets, and our moon. We, in that moment, are filled with a paradox– a sense of utter smallness at the very minute that we feel the most significance we ever have. That a God that big knows us. Knows our name. Wants us to be characters in the greatest story ever told. The Story of which all other stories are merely broken and foggy imitations.

We experience God in the big things and we think we’re seeing the whole canvas. That we have an idea about the extent of His creativity.

But friends, I am beginning to discover that thinking like that is like standing 100 yards away from a van Gogh and feeling as though we took it all in.

God’s creativity, His love letters, are more numerous and frequent than we will ever know. He is a God of detail. Those details add onto each other into the huge displays of splendor that we know and love. But inside each of those massive works are a million smaller ones– each as awe inspiring as the whole. Each part a whole in itself.

God is waiting for us in those places. He waits everywhere. He waits for us to notice Him, to enjoy Him, to feel His extravagant pursuit of our hearts.

When was the last time you looked at the texture of grass, at the mystical spheres of dew that collect on it every morning. The last time you paid attention to the complexities of an ant. An ant. God knit together something that small that lives a life in community, on a team, feeding and protecting itself. When was the last time you looked into someone’s eyes– really looked into them. I mean, are you kidding me? 

God is so much more than we will ever come close to knowing. And we are His, my friends. We are His. And this world is a gift for us. Let us enjoy as much of it with Him as we can.

J

The War Inside.

I can hardly believe that I’m writing again. I’ve been away from blogging for almost two years. The consistency of it is something I’ve never been good at. But the act of allowing my thoughts and heart-stirs to materialize has always been one of the most emotionally healthy things I do. So here we go. Again. 

The biggest thing I wrestle with is this– the battle between taking Jesus seriously and living up to and fitting inside the mold of western Christian culture. Because these are often sadly two very different things.

My heart is dying to live fully alive in His truth and His freedom, but my mind is regretfully all too aware of the expectations of those around me.

There is a passage in Matthew 6 that draws a line in the sand for me. A direct quote from Jesus that is probably one of the clearest things that we know He said. A few excerpts:

“Do not store up for yourself treasure on earth (where it is worthless), but store for yourself treasure in Heaven (eternally priceless). For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” “No one can serve two masters…You cannot serve both God and money.” “Therefor I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds (who do not store food) …Your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? So do not worry … the pagans run after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness…”

There is not a place in the entire Bible in which I find more freedom than here. But living like this is probably the quickest way to get labeled as a crazy.

Almost no western Christians live this way. Handfuls. I’m privileged to know two of these people– and their lives are refreshing and challenging to watch. They live the richest, most Spirit filled lives of anyone I know. They will also be able to enter eternity boldly, seeing the fruit of their days flowing out of the gates.

What makes this so difficult to dive into is that it changes the definition of success. We’ve been conditioned to view success in terms of the American Dream. Our income, what we drive, our house and furnishings, a yard with a fence to keep our yellow lab and 2.5 kids from running into the freshly paved cul-de-sac. If I embrace Matthew 6 and Jesus’ other teachings, I have to redefine what success looks like for me. And chances are, other people Christians aren’t going to get it. And that is so hard.

There are tears in my eyes as I write this because I know. I know the truth. I know what I’m called– what I’m commanded– to do. I know the freedom and the richness that will ooze out of the hardship and discomfort of such a life. I know all of this, and yet my feet feel like cinderblocks as I try to step towards it. I’ve tried, with moderate success, not to fall into the powerful current of many cultural norms. I don’t think I’m too off-base by saying that. But I am no better than those who have. In fact, I believe I’m worse. Standing somewhere on the shore, my feet buried in the mud, watching the rat race rushing by in front of me, glancing over my shoulder at the barely visible path trailing into the trees behind me. And I just stand there. Here. On the bank as my hours drain through the pinhole of time. Hoping someone will grab my arm and pull me out of the mud into the woods. Wishing that somehow this were easier. But knowing the strength and resolve of my weakness will never let this be easy. 

I’m a mess, friends. I hope you know that.

Undeservingly His,

J

Going back.

Many of you know and maybe even gave towards my trip with GlobalX to France last summer. After being asked to return with another team this year, I prayed a good deal for guidance. I’ve never gone back to the same country twice on this type of trip before. But the more I thought about it and the more I prayed about it, the more obvious the answer became. God is doing something so special through Eglise de la Brie and their team that I cannot accurately describe it. How in the world could I pass up the opportunity to invest in something yielding such a remarkable return for the Kingdom?

You can read in the post below (that I wrote last year …yes, this seems to be what my blog has become) statistics about faith in France and the story of this church.

But maybe a better way is for you to see it. Below is a video from this church in which you can see a lot of what our team helped accomplish last year. The auditorium (where they host main services and their family environment) as well as the children’s rooms (Waumba Land). I led the Waumba team last year and believe we left them with a unique environment that has been and will continue to be extremely valuable in their approach to reaching unchurched people by honoring and engaging their children.

What I really hope you gather from this video is the heart of this team. What they are doing is truly not being done at all in France. This model may seem normal or at least familiar to you, but this is something completely unheard-of in their country.

I am returning this July, and once again am asking for you to partner with me in the investment. I have agreed to raise $3,250.

You can give and find out more about this trip by clicking here.

Something else I humbly ask of you is for your prayers. Not simply for me or this trip, but for Eglise de la Brie and their team. They are changing people’s distorted view of who God is and are ushering people into an authentic relationship with His Son in an extremely difficult context.

Thank you first for caring enough about me to read this. That means so much. Thank you for being my friend. And thank you from the very bottom of my heart for supporting me in any way on this journey.

His,

J

The church in France.

            I’m asking you to be a part of something.  A part of something really big.  I’m asking you to join arms with an organization that God is using in ways that have outgrown our ability to fully track.  The name of the organization is North Point Ministries and here is their mission: To create church environments that people who aren’t “church people” love to attend, and to ultimately lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.  This idea was first materialized about 15 years ago in Atlanta, GA and has now spread across the globe.  NPM has five campuses in the Atlanta area, strategic partners all over the US and in ten different countries.  North Point Media (North Point Online, podcasts, video on demand, radio, and TV) reaches 1.2 million people around the world each month.

            Last summer, I went on a trip to our partner church in Moldova (scroll down a few posts to read about it).  I was floored when I saw how they had taken the NPM model and adapted it for the very tough culture that they do ministry in.  I was part of a team who designed and built an engaging environment for their children’s ministry. (Below is a picture of part of our project)

Part of our project in Moldova.

           This summer, I will be part of a similar team who will be working with our new partner in Solers, France.  This time, I have been asked to take the lead on designing their Pre-K environment (Waumba Land) and leading the team that will work to make it come together once we’re there.  This is a big and intimidating responsibility, but I am so honored and excited for the opportunity to use my gifts and experience in this way.

            I’ve met Lorenzo, the pastor of L’Eglise de la Brie (briechurch.com), and he is amazing.  He and his wife have huge hearts for their country, which is currently only 2% protestant.  Of the Catholic Church in France, a study found that 17% claim to not actually believe in God, and only 18% believe that God is a personal god and not simply a “force, energy or spirit.”  A church like the one Lorenzo and his wife have created is unheard of in their country (and really in Europe as a whole)– and people love it!  They just started paperwork on their first building and they have non-believing members excited to give monthly to the project to fund it.

            This trip will be from July 14-23 and I have to raise $3,000.  That’s a lot of money– especially in the eyes of a college student.  But I believe in and want to be a part of North Point, their mission, and what God is doing through them in the nations.  God has always provided for me in unreal ways and I don’t doubt He will again.  Please consider making an investment in what He will do through Lorenzo and his team in a country that desperately needs to hear of a personal and relevant God and His Son, Jesus Christ.  I would also very much appreciate your prayers as I will be taking on a responsibility that I cannot accomplish on my own strength.

How to give online:

1. Visit goglobalX.org

2. Click “give”

3. Under “trip information” select “France” as the country, “Waumba/KidStuf” as the trip, and specify my name as the “individual”

**All support is tax-deductable


My support status: I’m fully funded! Thank you all so much!


If you have questions or want information about how to give by check, I would love to talk to you! You can e-mail me at a.jadeking@gmail.com.


Thank you so much for considering this.

Greatful,

JK

Page 1 of 812345...Last »