Tag Archives: Kingdom of God

Margins, Fringes, and Outsiders

Yesterday was overload.

Failure is the resonance that allows connection. – Dave Gibbons

My heart is so full today, so challenged, so humbled.  Leadership is profound.  To answer the call of God, to step out into an unknown reality, to accept the uncertainty because of faith in Him.  Yesterday was a parade of men who have all taken on that challenge and answered it as fully as they could understand.   “Love the Lord Your God with all…”  The word “all” is huge, and at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit yesterday, my spirit resonated with the challenge coming from men and women who love God and His Kingdom in just this way.

Newsong's Website - Check it out

Newsong's Website - Check it out

Dave Gibbons, Pastor of Newsong (a multi-site, “3rd Culture” church) started the day, and talked of leadership in a new culture.  “3rd Culture Leadership” he called it.   He flatly asserted that Jesus, in calling us to love our neighbor, specifically meant those unlike us.   Citing church movements that are built on homogeneous models that create consumerist churches, Gibbons called us to reach out to the edges, to the people on the margins, and that many creatives live out there, and they’re the ones who are starting the important movements in our world.   Go to the outsider, he said, to the misfit, the fringe.    Success may not be chart-friendly, as in “up and to the right.”  (Imagine the usual line drawn on a grid that moves up and to the right as profits or numbers grow over time.)  Failure, Gibbons said, is success to God.  Failure is the resonance that allows connection.

We don’t need more visionaries, we need more relationaries.

Gibbons closed by challenging us with 4 acts of obedience, obedience being more important that passion.

  1. Deeper Collaboration – We must take the challenge to co-create with others more seriously.
  2. Communal Living – Proximity is important in creating the Kingdom Community.
  3. Pray – We don’t pray because we don’t believe in the power of the Holy Spirit.
  4. Radically sacrifice for the outsider.

And finally, Gibbons hit me between the eyes, landed right on the bulls-eye that God knew would get me going.

Gibbons challenged us to see “the beauty of this kind of living.”

Being Third-Culture means having the mindset and the will to love, learn, and serve in any culture, even in the midst of pain and discomfort. – Dave Gibbons

And so it went all day long.

At the end of the day, as I sat with friends around a table of bounty where conversation was rich, food plentiful, and the beauty of youth on full display, I kept thinking of God calling us, calling me.  And the question that keeps rolling around inside is how do I answer this call fully?  Transition is coming–our new preacher arrives this week–and I feel the path diverging, God moving me toward a place I’ve never been before.  I don’t mean geographically.   I sense He wants to plunge into a world I don’t yet see, one clearly in alignment with what He’s been talking to me about for most of my life.

The beauty of it…

What does it mean?  I don’t know.   But over the past two days, my listening got sharper, more intense.

Intuition and intellect both buzzing…


Filed under Beauty, Daily Life, Faith and Art, Spirituality


Hard to say where it comes from.  The Greeks thought it came from the gods, from the muses.  I suppose I still think it does, from God, from sources of creation and spirit that He oversees and delivers in mystery, in conversation, in idea and image.  My son is no doubt being inspired even as we speak, roaming the streets of Paris.  My daughter sits on a plane headed for New York, where she will work as an intern in a casting agency, no doubt finding inspiration in the Broadway plays she will see over the next six weeks, not to mention the energy of the city itself.  Yesterday, it came for me through a brief conversation with the pastor of a small inner city church in Portland.

I spoke with Ike about A Cappella music.  But what he told me about was the kingdom of God, and worship, and what it means to “bring it all.”  He told me the story of the young people at his church that worship with such impact and energy (makes me think of the word “furiously”) that they couldn’t keep the projector throwing the lyrics on the wall steady.

To inspire.  To breathe into.  To borrow breath from.   For some reason, I took some breath out of that conversation, and almost imperceptibly, began to move with a quicker step, with a lighter heart, with a more purposeful and hopeful energy.  I guess after talking about “taking Kingdom ground” on Sunday, it was great and inspiring to hear from someone so obviously doing just that.

Give breath.  Inspire.  Take ground.   Who knows what life will change…

Read that last sentence however you want…

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Filed under Daily Life, Spirituality