Tuesday, June 22, 2010

''TIGHT SHOES' Update from Mike:

It doesn’t feel like three years have gone by since Dawn & I felt the call to cross-cultural missions. I can still remember the fear involved when it was time to strap on my “missionary shoes”. The only paradigm I knew was that I had to take off my size 12 “wing tips” (I never actually owned wing tips) & trade them in for a pair of size 10 ½ missionary sandals. No, the analogy I’m going to make here about tight shoes does not involve suffering for Christ. The new shoes I stepped in just seemed a little clumsy & a bit awkward. I knew the call to missions was real. God convinced me the call to Taiwan was real. But fitting into the role of what I thought a “missionary” was left me a bit frustrated and searching for answers. God, what exactly is a church planter…and how do I fit in?

The last year and a half has been amazing. The fact that I can type that last sentence after how I was feeling on our return trip from Taiwan in January, 2008 is amazing in itself. So many things that God did in our family. So many things that God has taught Dawn & I. I believe with all my heart that I am supposed to serve & love the people of Taiwan. I don’t believe I have been true to who God has called me to be and how He has gifted me.

I’m half way through a seminar in Colorado Springs called iBAM, which is short for “Business as Missions”. The apostle Paul was a tent-maker…so the concept i
s not really new…yet BAM is really not tent-making. Honestly, the dust has not yet settled on what exactly to call this “movement” of Kingdom businesses that is spreading rapidly around the world. In fact “Kingdom Business” is one term that has been suggested. There are many: Transformational Business, Missional Business, Mission through Business or Marketplace Transformation. The BAMers of today do see a name change in the near future to accurately describe what this is. Here’s a shot in one sentence: Business as Mission views business as a primary vehicle to holistically serve peoples’ needs in a way that demonstrates the reality of Gospel and the Kingdom of God.

To say I’m excited by the concept would be an understatement. To say this week has been incredibly encouraging would be another understatement. In t
he last week, I have met businessmen from Pakistan, the U.K., Thailand, Singapore, Canada, U.S., India, South Africa, Sudan, South Korea, Afghanistan, and a couple more countries I’m embarrassed to say I can’t pronounce. Creative people, created by God, who are truly walking in their anointing as they spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ through business.

Why am I so encouraged? Is it because of all of the “out of the box” thinking that I’m being exposed to? Yes! Is it because I am getting a glimpse of God moving around the world in a way that I couldn’t have imagined? Yes! Is it because I get to spend 2 weeks with like minded, like hearted people? Yes! Is it because Pike’s Peak is right outside of my window? Okay, yes. But that’s not why I am most encouraged. Acts 4:13 says “The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men who had had no special training.They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.”

I am so fired up this week because these are “ordinary Joes” just like me. Confirmation again that it is not our “adequacy” that God is looking for, it’s our obedience & commitment to knowing His heart, & then selling out for it. These men I’ve met in Colorado Springs, though not extraordinarily qualified, have clearly “been with Jesus”. They are betting the farm…no, selling the farm on the fact that Jesus is King and his introductio
n is needed throughout the nations.

I have been truly blessed this week. It’s like God has turned on a light switch inside of me…or better yet, more like a dimmer switch that He contin
ues to turn brighter & brighter. So I go back to Taiwan…still as a church planter…but in a whole different paradigm of what “church” can look like. I think we have to be careful on how we use the term “missionary”. The truth is, we are all called to be missionaries…the businessman, the church planter, the painter, & the girl behind the counter who serves your coffee.

I expect that as Dawn & I enter back into language school & start serving the people of Taiwan, He will start to put hands & feet to this vision He has seeded in us. It will be a long road, but I feel like we’re on the the right road. David, a BAMer from the U.K. who has businesses throughout Asia and funds mission’s movements around the world, gave me some great words of wisdom the other night. He advised me to “Dream big, start small, & build deep”. It’s advice that will stick with me in the years ahead. The best news: my shoes fit perfectly this week!


jdaab said...

After reading that, I'm excited too!
Can't wait to see and hear how God is using you in Taiwan.
Thanks for sharing.

karen said...

Wow! So excited to read this! Strap on those sandals & start dreaming BIG with God, Mike! Can't wait to watch what He will do in, with, and through you, Mike. Blessings, brother! ~Karen Kramer

Leslie said...

Mike, Loved your message. It was powerful. Thank you for taking the time to share about you time in Colorado. You and Dawn continue to be in my prayers. Leslie