LITTLE RED DOTS
I’m beginning to wonder if I have adult onset of ADD—Attention Deficit Disorder. My vulnerability to distraction seems to increase substantially. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve been working on the laptop and need to find a document or double-check an email. In searching for a particular document, I often see something else that begs me to come over and investigate or when I scroll through an email thread, I’m reminded of a task that needs to be cared for NOW. The consequence of these spur-of-the-moment impulses is that I become distracted from what I needed to take care of in the first place.
Looking around, distractions, disruptions and diversions are not only increasingly voluminous in my life but probably in yours too. (Can I get a witness?) In his book Disruptive Witness: Speaking Truth in a Distracted Age, Alan Noble hoists the norm of our lives with realistic commentary:
“Innumerable gadgets, websites, channels, streaming services, songs, films, and biometric wristbands vie for our attention. Without our attention, their existence is unjustified. So, each piece of technology we own does what it can to make us pay attention to it, like an overly eager child tugging on our sleeve, begging, ‘Look what I can do, Dad!’ It is not just that every spare moment is fought for; our technology covets every glance. Flashing lights, vibrations, bells ringing, little red dots, email alerts, notifications, pop-up windows, commercials, news tickers, browser tabs—everything is designed to capture our attention” (pg. 18-19).
My OCD kicks in when I see little round red notifications on my iPhone. I have to do whatever I have to do to clear the red dot, whether a FB notification, updating an app or responding to a reminder on my calendar. In contrast, my wife’s smartphone looks like it has a lousy case of the measles and it’s all I can do to pick it up without clearing at least one red dot.
In contrast to the reality in which you and I live, are the words of a missionary, Paul, to a gathering of believers in the small town of Colosse. “Christ brought you over to God’s side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence…. Stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message, careful not be distracted or diverted” (Colossians 1:22, The Message).
Invoking the spiritual disciplines of reading God’s Word, prayer, reflection / meditation in silence and solitude becomes more critical, more necessary, more essential as we move deeper into an Age of Distraction. Pausing periodically throughout the day—early morning, noon, mid-afternoon, and evening—to reflect and take a moment to pray needs to be woven more reliably into the fabric of our daily lives. It will help me—and you—to be consistently tuned in to the message of Jesus, serving as guardrails to help us from being consumed by the constant barrage of distractions and diversions.
Seventy-five leaders involved in ministry in rural contexts gathered on the campus of Wheaton College at the Billy Graham Center in late September for a Rural Matters Conference. The convener, Ed Stetzer, is leveraging his influence as an evangelical leader in recognizing the value of bringing the message of Jesus to sparsely populated, easy to forget, under-resourced places. Of the seventy-five in attendance, thirty were affiliated with The Wesleyan Church and of those, ten were from the Kansas District.
Steve McVey, lead pastor at Lamont and founder of Dirt Roads Network, is often sought out regarding insights and best practices of rural ministry, not only denominationally but now nationally. He is an articulate and respected champion for those called to do ministry in rural areas. A dinner sponsored by Dirt Roads Network gave Steve an opportunity to speak about his vision for rural America and concluded with Dr. Wayne Schmidt convening Wesleyan leaders to gather around him to pray for faith, courage, resources and leadership.
DIRT ROADS | BOOT CAMP | CHURCH PLANTERS
Dirt Roads Network and Lamont Wesleyan Church are hosting a Church Planter’s Boot Camp, Friday and Saturday, October 05 – 06 with church planters, John and Danielle Freed, who have a proven track record in successfully planting new churches. The event will be held at Lamont Wesleyan Church.
The Boot Camp is for future church planters, missional leaders, coaches, mentors and those looking to resource missional movements, multiplication teams, and anyone interested in planting or has a desire to discover their role in the mission of God.
Go to www.dirtroadsnetwork.com for additional information.
CONNECT CHURCH MOVING CLOSER TO OCCUPANCY
Connect Church in Lawrence, KS is nearing the end of a multi-month construction journey and will soon occupy a new facility. Interior work is being completed, the parking lot nears finalization, a playground for children is underway, and landscaping is in process. Countless other tasks have yet to be completed over the next few weeks. The congregation, under the leadership of lead pastor, Nate Rovenstine, is navigating the challenges of vacating their current site until they can move into the new building in early December.
January 9-12, 2019
Orlando, Florida at The Caribe Royale
More than a minister’s conference. The Gathering is a reunion of ministry family and friends. A sabbath for our souls. Coming together to stop, rest, pray, play and thrive. A chance to celebrate what God is doing in our lives and ministry through meals, stories, inspiration and worship. This will be a gathering that Wesleyan pastors and spouses won’t want to miss!
Wesleyan clergy & spouses are encouraged to register.
Local churches are encouraged to consider sending pastors to The Gathering as part of October’s Pastor Appreciation Month.
To follow the latest developments at the Emporia Embrace Church Plant,
DAUGHTER OF THE KING
From a journal entry several years ago, Shaunna Sturgeon inked these words: “Have you ever been
concerned that one day everyone you know will find out what a horribly, awful person you really are?” Many have asked the same question in one form or another.
In this blog post, Daughter of The King, she offers healing, love, wholeness streaming from the heart of the Father to sons and daughters He treasures.
Shaunna, along with her husband, Dave and family of four, have recently moved to Iola, KS in response to God’s call to plant a church there.
Click here to read a companion post to Shaunna's blog post on the Christian's identity and self-worth, which is based on a review of the book "Identity Theft".
YOU DON'T GET YOUR OWN PERSONAL JESUS!
She was a brown-eyed beauty from Chile and J.D. Greear became her seat companion on a short, late-night flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Charlotte, NC. She was a skeptic when it came to matters of faith and God but they ended up talking about Jesus during most of the flight. As the plane began its final descent, he asked her if she would make a decision to trust Jesus as the only One who could make her relationship with God safe and sound.
HURT OR HARM?
Jesus likened the relationship of those who follow him to that of a relationship between a branch and a vine. Branches do not live independently of the vine. An organic union exists whereby the vine nurtures, supports and facilitates the growth of the branch. Sometimes, the branches need pruning. “…every branch that does bear fruit (the Gardener) prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”