Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Good News About Injustice

So what is the good news about injustice? Gary Haugen, the founder and president of the International Justice Mission, makes it his mission to tell everyone. The good news about injustice is God is against it. In fact, he detests it.

The Lord looked and was displeased
to find there was no justice.
He was amazed to see that no one intervened
to help the oppressed.
So he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm,
and his justice sustained him.
He put on righteousness as his body armor
and placed the helmet of salvation on his head.
He clothed himself with a robe of vengeance
and wrapped himself in a cloak of divine passion.
He will repay his enemies for their evil deeds.
His fury will fall on his foes.
He will pay them back even to the ends of the earth.
In the west, people will respect the name of the Lord;
in the east, they will glorify him.
For he will come like a raging flood tide
driven by the breath of the Lord.

Isaiah 59:15b-19

Monday, January 05, 2009

Campus Crusade Conference in Denver

At the Denver Christmas Conference in Denver, CO. One of the highlights of the year - every year. This morning Larry Martin from the International Justice Mission lit the place up with the pervasive power of God's passion for justice.

He gave a great perspective on a Christian's attitude toward justice using Jesus' feeding of the five thousand as an example of what Christ wants to do with the very little that we possess. We simply need to be willing to give that little we have to Him. An apropos illustration given that believers typically don't have any idea where to start when it comes to bringing justice to the oppressed.

Psalm 10:17-18

You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,

defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.

I hardly could hold it together this morning. Want to know why I'm following the Lord's calling into the Marine Corps? Now you have it.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

My Jump into the Marine Corps

Coming to Mexico City nearly two and a half years ago I had no idea what to expect. But Idid have one clear objective upon arrival: Help lead an effort to start Christ-centered movements on more than 400 university campuses.

At the time, I felt that was a “big” dream, and one that would involve a lot of people and resources and a whole lot of faith. But God had something a little larger in mind. He wasn’t just asking us to seclude ourselves to the safe confines of the college campus but to join in on a kingdom process already long underway – the transformation of His supercity.

I won’t ever forget that heart-pounding moment when the Lord spoke His will so clearly. We would launch movements on every college campus, but we must also focus our attention on the pressing needs of the whole city.

Fortunately for us, this really wasn’t so much of a pioneering effort as it was one of collaboration. Without much ado, God opened up doors that would connect us with the rest of His body well at work within the city, and other believers from outside that would aide the venture. And in a short time, miracles happened as literally thousands of laborers worked together to raise up a network of over 50 campus movements and numerous other initiatives that encompassed everything from assisting the poor and caring for street children to engaging business executives and high-ranking government officials.

Then something quite unexpected happened in my own heart. As we began to come against the injustice of our city, my already existent passion for justice deepened, and old dream, long since buried, resurfaced. After prayer and contemplation and a period of seeking wise counsel, this passion for justice would lead me to apply to become an officer in the United States Marine Corps, initiating again a journey I started in high school when I spent two years applying to the US Naval Academy.

The fact that I have exceeded the age limit to become an officer has expedited the process, and the Marines have asked me to join the next officer class in January 2009. So, as of December 31, 2008, I will transition from my role as Codirector of Mexico Focus and will serve as Chief Visionary Officer, continuing to serve in a high-level advisory role in the citywide transformation process. This transition will require me to leave full-time staff with Campus Crusade, but I will remain on as affiliate staff and work alongside our Military Ministry. Craig Johring, my gifted coleader, will remain as the Director of Mexico Focus, overseeing an all-star team of nearly 30 full-time staff and hundreds of volunteers.

I'll continue to blog on all things movement-related with more of my personal journey into the Corps (assuming I make it past Officer Candidate School). So many of you have brought me a lot of encouragement from your messages, support and prayers. I'll continue to need them now!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Your Future Shapes Your Present

I'm not a new year's resolution guy myself - never have been.  But I do believe in vision and having some defined goals that push you to do things you wouldn't naturally do otherwise.  Alan Hirsch, author of the Forgotten Ways, just posted this thought that deserves some thoughtful consideration.

Fritz Roethlisberger, the late professor at Harvard Business School and a pioneer in the field of organizational behavior, observed: “Most people think of the future as the ends and the present as the means, whereas in fact, the present is the ends and the future the means.” Translated, Roethlisberger is telling us that holding a definite sense of vision (a preferred future) and mission informs and alters how people think and how they will behave in the present. Viewed this way, the future is a means to alter behavior. The new behavior shapes the ends, which in turn alter the future, and the spiral continues.

One does not creep up on a big future. Rather, the future is boldly declared in a vision and serves as the catalyst for all that follows. “When President Kennedy announced his famous moonwalk vision, there were no solutions to the problems that lay ahead: Congressional approval, appropriation of funds, technological breakthroughs, and the rejuvenation of NASA were still needed to fulfill the vision.” Kennedy’s moonwalk vision, acting as a catalyst, gathered up a collection of emotions and aspirations, desire and excitement, curiosity, power, a quest for knowledge, a competitive wish to be the first country to walk on the moon, imperialistic lust, and focused all these disparate forces to trigger unified action. The same is true for Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I have a dream’ speech. It acted as a strange attractor to provoke and initiate action on behalf of that vision.

We look back on such events as inevitable…things which just seemed to happen. But it is not so at all. We seem to lose perspective on the missional communitas that visions like these evoke. The authors of Surfing the Edge of Chaos profoundly note that “…enactment on behalf of a powerful goal alters the structure of reality” We, the people of God, are carried forward by a vision of the future that constitutes our mission. When we are caught up into it, and pursue it, we are changed, and we go on to enact history.
So, what is your vision for 2009 and beyond?