Monday, March 28, 2011

On Discipline and Grace

Speaking of my husband and preaching, he shared an awesome message recently at Barclay College on some of the lessons that have been near to us in the last three years. This message is also available online by clicking here.

Omniscience & The Great Whale

Adam was able to preach on Sunday about the story of Jonah and God's omniscience for our Omni sermon series at Crossroads! He did a great job. You can even listen here!

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Silence of God, Andrew Peterson

Isn't suffering so hard to understand? This song contains the most powerful lesson on suffering ever. Sometimes art can master with poetic truth what a linear argument can never master with logic.

Youth Group Spring Break Fun!

Road Trip to Dallas!

The day after our run through the grasslands we headed to Dallas and went to the Sixth Floor Museum which is a museum dedicated to the legacy of John F. Kennedy. The museum is located on the same floor of the building where Lee Harvey Oswald purportedly fired the fatal shot at the motorcade. We drove north from Dallas into Oklahoma and camped at the Ockashaw National Recreation Center and did some lake hiking!

Grasslands Trail Run 2011

A friend of mine ran the Grasslands Trail Marathon last year and bragged all year long about how miserable it was in the mud and muck on a cold, windy, snowy/rainy day. I got tired of hearing him tell me about it so I signed up for 50 miler there this year!

The course is on the President LBJ National Grasslands near Decatur, TX (just 30 miles west of Denton off of I-35)(serviced by the US National Parks System). We drove down after work Friday and camped out 100 yards from the start/finish line in a really nice remote park and campground.

Sarah ran the half-marathon with an 8:30 start time. She said she was surprised by how much sand there was but had a nice time. As she finished she thought the distance was “just right” and was glad to be done because it was starting to get “hot”. She finished 189th – results here. The first time I saw her after my 7am start for the 50 mile was after about 30 miles and I still had 2 more loops to complete, one of 11 miles and the other of about 9. The 50 mile course consists of 5 major loops and one small 5 mile “correction” loop to start off with in the early morning before sunrise. I didn’t take a headlamp and just stayed behind someone who did and tried to step where they stepped etc until I could see which didn’t take more than 20 or so minutes. Each loop is a different color and the course is actually really well marked and really clear. A few times I wondered if I was off course but in the end I never really was.

Overall, I say Grasslands is much like the Rockin’ K course except a lot more sand and no bluff loop, meaning the ups and downs aren’t as bad. And no water crossings at all this year. My feet never got wet at Grasslands. It was the third Saturday in March and the temperatures climbed into the mid 80s. Felt like the mid 90s to me. By noon it crazy hot and my head was pounding and I was going through a little more than 2 bottles of water per hour. This was especially hot considering winter was just getting over.

As far as I’m concerned this is a race I want to do just once. But it’s not anything negative about the course, organization, or RD’s. They were all just great! The aid stations and volunteers and organization was all class act but the course was stinkin’ tough. I was really shooting for 10 hours and if I would’ve been tougher I still think I probably could have done it but I faded a bit in the end and finished in 10:50. Only 26 people finished and I finished 14th among them. I don’t know how many started but I’d guess 50% or more dropped out. 50 mile results here.

This was my first race of anything marathon or longer since the Run for Missions 2010 on November 1st. While I had a good break from racing, I did get some good winter training in and am ready to have a successful and fun April and May busy with running marathons and trail ultras.

My (Adam) conclusion: everyone should run Grasslands at least once!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hope For A Brilliant Future

There is no hope for a brilliant future in the Quaker (Friends) story without a conscious, deliberate, and sustained effort to enlist and to train ministry related to the peculiar needs of our time and therefore different from any of the stereotypes with which we have been familiar in the recent past. This will not be accomplished unless the fire gets much hotter than it now is. The encouraging fact is that Quakers have, inherent in their total philosophy, a conception of the ministry which the modern world is looking…

--D. Elton Trueblood,
The People Called Quakers

In the study of the history of missions, one can even be formulaic about asserting that all great missionary movements begin at the fringes of the church, among the poor and the marginalized, and seldom, if ever, at the center. It is vital that in pursuing missional modes of church, we get out of the stifling equilibrium of the center of our movements and denominations, move to the fringes, and engage in real mission there. But there’s more to it than just mission; most great movements of mission have inspired significant and related movements of renewal in the life of the church. It seems that when the church engages at the fringes, it almost always brings life to the center.
--Alan Hirsch
The Forgotten Ways

A great deal more failure is the result of an excess of caution than of bold experimentation with new ideas. The frontiers of the kingdom of God were never advanced by men and women of caution.
-J. Oswald Sanders

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bangladesh 2011

“As they traveled from town to town…the churches were strengthened in the faith…they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them...Then they left.” Acts 16:4-5, 40

“When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.” Acts 11:23

Albert and Metali Adhikari are the EFM National Leaders in Bangladesh. They've been working with EFM since 2005. They are such effective and powerful leaders, and have facilitated a powerful work of God. Albert is extremely gifted in leadership and continues to lead a very effective and discerning strategic ministry.

Albert and Metali, who have two young boys—Steve and Edwin, and are committed like you can’t imagine to Christ, to the Gospel and to seeing the Kingdom of God advance through a church planting movement of Friends Churches all over Bangladesh. They are so, so faithful to the ministry God has called them to and live out faithfully the disturbing words of Jesus in Luke 14:26-27,33 so well! The testimony of Albert and many of the newly baptized Christians in Bangladesh reflects closely the story of the apostles in the book of Acts, especially chapter 5:
“the apostles left the Sanhedrin rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.” (5:41-42)

The 2011 prayer, encouragement, and exposure mission trip to Bangladesh was a great success! Team members consisted of Matt Macy, myself, Jana Mullen, Jeff Mullen, Eric Sallee and David Wells, all from Crossroads.

These trips are a lot like treasure hunts – we are constantly spiritually alert, looking and spiritually discerning “Where is God at work in Bangladesh?” so that we can celebrate it, announce it, affirm it and support it. We found so, so many treasures every day on this trip. There are so many new Christians and new churches popping up. With only a few exceptions, every church and ministry site we visited was different from the places we visited last year in 2010 (and different from where we went in 2009 as well). This means that they are hard at work in ministry and that the church is growing in exciting ways.

While we were there we presented gifts on behalf of Crossroads to two of the lead local churches in Bangladesh. We included framed 8 x 12 photos of Crossroads “sending their greetings”. The Bangladesh Christians send back their greetings! We also were able to hand-deliver greeting cards handmade by Crossroads Kids. The Bangladesh Kids will soon write back to our Crossroads Kids!

Our ministry consisted of Bible teachings, impromptu messages of encouragement and discipleship to people who are new Christians or who are newly exploring the Christian faith and know almost nothing about the Bible. We visited a dozen different villages, some with newly baptized Christians and some that are preaching points where the gospel was newly being shared. In every occasion, our ministry of presence and our words of testimony were an important encouragement to the Bangladeshi believers, many of whom have endured significant persecution for making their important decision to follow Christ. Each group we visited offered us very kind hospitality (tea and a snack, like a hard-boiled egg or crackers) and very eager to hear our words, demonstrating a spiritual hunger and eagerness to learn and grow. When you witness first hand the growth and work of the field, you learn how to pray with more intelligence and support with more compassion and hopefully to invite others to do the same.

The six of us on the team represented not only Crossroads and Mid America, but all of the Evangelical Friends Church. We were able to share in person that many, many people all around the world love and care about what happens in Bangladesh and that many Christians in our Friends Churches are praying for them – they are not alone!

There is something so special about our time there that has so much do with what God wants to do in our lives and our church back at home. I was so challenged yet again to be even more faithful to Gospel ministry in Wichita, KS! “Pray for me that I may declare the Gospel fearlessly.” (Eph. 6:19) This is my prayer for myself and for Albert & Metali Adhikari and the pastors and evangelists in Bangladesh.

Thanks for your faithfulness to send, support, and pray. Personally I am grateful and I believe whole-heartedly that the Church is blessed and advanced because of it!

Adam Monaghan

“But life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work of telling others the Good News about God’s mighty kindness and love.” Acts 20:24

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