Archives For JR Woodward

Martin Luther King JrAs Martin Luther King Jr. day is fast approaching, it is amazing to realize that it was 50 years ago that he offered a prophetic vision of a “day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: ‘Free at last!  Free at last!  Thank God almighty, we are free at last!”  Martin Luther King Jr, like other prophetic people share with us visions of a preferable future.  They inspire us to pursue God’s shalom, to take a hold of God’s dream for this world.

We see pictures of God’s dream through prophets like Isaiah, seers like John, where peace and justice flourish and the wolf and the lamb lie side by side.  Prophets call the people of God to live in God’s new social order and stand with the poor and oppressed.

I want to share some of my favorite quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. to inspire prophetic people today to continue to dream God’s future, and call others to live into that future.

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Apostles

You can’t make footprints in the sands of time with your butt, and who wants to make butt prints in the sands of time?” – Unknown [A slogan for Apostles]

As we start to see a restoration of the five equippers in Ephesians 4 come to reality in the missional church, including the APE’s, and as we re-imagine how to approach leadership, certain questions arise. What does an Apostle do? What is their role? How are we to understand the nature of an Apostle?

To understand the role of an apostle it is first helpful to understand the nature of the missional church. Jurgen Moltmann gives us some help here, in that he enables us to recognize that the starting point for mission is not the church, but God himself. Mission is grounded in the very being of God. He says,

“It is not the church that has a mission of salvation to fulfill in the world; it is the mission of the Son and the Spirit through the Father that includes the church.”

In other words, there is mission because God is a missionary God.

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PCH by JR Woodward

One of the characteristics of our host culture here in the United States is that we live in an atmosphere where our worth is often determined by our ability to produce and achieve.  This has a tendency to shape us into slaves of production.

I have especially experienced this an apostolic leader who is always creating and starting things.

In the first church I planted, it was rare for me to take a day off.  I was like the rat running in the wheel with no rest.  The problem is that when we enter the rat race, we often become rats in the process.  I had little patience, which, according to I Cor. 13, means I had little love.  I thought patience was for under-achievers.  Being an Ennegram three, the Achiever, one of my basic desires is to feel valuable and worthwhile, while my basic fear if of being worthless.  The corresponding weakness is that I can try and find my value and worth through achievement, which make Sabbath for me (and other apostolically gifted leaders) a needed concrete practice that can act as a counterforce to our dominate culture, which is trying to squeeze us into its mold.

In Working the Angles, Eugene Peterson gives a beautiful description of Biblical Sabbath.  He says that Sabbath is, “Uncluttered time and space to distance ourselves from the frenzy of our own activities so we can see what God has been and is doing.  If we do not regularly quit work for one day a week, we take ourselves far too seriously.  The moral sweat pouring off our brows blinds us to the primal action of God in and around us.”  I’m happy to say that since being in L.A. I have religiously taken a day off.

The key task for an apostolic leader is to help people connect with their calling so that mission can be carried out. If we are not slowing down and taking days off with God to remember that He is in control and the one in charge, we become as Peterson suggests, blinded by our “moral sweat” and we cannot properly see how God is at work and help others step into that.

Part of what it means to become more like Jesus is walking in the Spirit and living a life more and more characterized the by fruit of the Spirit, including patience.  It is interesting that the Chinese join two characters to form a single pictograph for busyness:  heart and killing.  Could it be that they understand that busyness kills the heart and makes us stop caring about the things we care about?

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JR and Gang

[This is a series designed to bring you into the the unique A.P.E stories of each writer on this blog. We hope each one of you can find a little of your A.P.E story inside of one of us. Read the other stories]

I never thought of myself as a “frat boy, “ but I became one.  My roommate was invited to a fraternity rush party, and he wanted a friend to come with him, so I tagged along.  I met some cool guys there, and before I knew it, I was pledging a fraternity and eventually became a full-fledge brother.

Little did I know that it would be in the Fraternity that I would meet two brothers who would cause me to consider the claims of Christ. I was working my way through college and didn’t have the money to go to summer school and pay for an apartment at the same time.  Two of my fraternity brothers offered me a place to stay for free, and it was their hospitality and lives as Christ followers that provoked me to read the gospels.  Through reading the gospel I fell in love with and surrendered my life to Jesus.

I happened to be the Resident Assistant in my dormitory.  It was my responsibility to care for and help the sixty residents that lived on my hall.  I didn’t know very much scripture, but I did know that God loved the whole world.  I did know that God wanted everyone to be with Him so much so, that He put on flesh and bones, lived among us, died for us, and rose again.  I didn’t know much, but I knew that, and that was enough.

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