Thursday, October 16, 2008

The lights are on but nobody is at home.

con.sol.i.da.tion; strengthening: consolidation of principles and beliefs. the union of two or more claims or actions.

Sorry to get so technical but we are trying to "consolidate" our cyber lives. We are trying to make all AR blogs, ministry blog, personal blog and staff blogs fall under one site. And so this URL will no longer be our AR update/newsletetter/blog site. Instead you can visit us at and read up on our past and current affairs. Check out our personal blogs aswell as our staff's blog. Hope you like the changes. See you on the "consolidated" side.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Give us a King

Recently I have found myself in the midst of “celebrity.” I came face to face with the beast of fame. I attended a dynamic lecture by Jeffrey Sachs on the Future of the Global Economy. He left us wanna be world changes oohing and ahhing… and groaning. Not only are his books great, he is a terrific public speaker. I think I got some stardust on me just before he went up to speak. Earlier in the week I found myself in the audience at the Oprah Show. She bathed in the adoration of the audience. I personally, was a little Oprahed out by the time she actually showed up. By midday I had definitely O.D.ed on Oprah. On the weekend a friend took me to a Bulls game where the CPS kids were going nuts for the Bulls... Oh, those lovable losers.

I saw it in myself at the lecture, the women at the Oprah show and the fans at the United Center.

Does the human condition cause us to crave a hero? Why do we so align our identity with our heroes… till they let us down. Society is addicted to celebrity. Yet celebrity is so fickle. Human beings can go from flipping burgers one day to becoming an Idol the next. Sadly we thrive on celebrity. You can text vote your worship or worship online… whatever is comfortable for you. Are our lives that boring? Are we still pursuing the mythical cool, introduced to us in Jr. High? Like candyfloss we consume it and are never satisfied and all the while making us sick. Why do we turn everyone and everything into a golden calf? I see it in the church just as much as in the world. Choose your super hero... Rob Bell or John Piper, Rick Warren or Bill Hybels, Donald Miller or Shane Claiborne?

I just finished reading this part in 1 Samuel where the people ask for a King… like everyone else. I imagine them chanting before Samuel “give us a King, give us a King!” Samuel is grieved, goes and prays and God warns them of what they’ll get; slavery, oppression etc… but they insist on it. They want it coz suddenly they know what’s best for them. So God gives them their King and they replace God with celebrity… and of course they get what He said they would. Oh, they/we never learn.

King Jesus, forgive our false-hero worship. Cast down the idols in my heart and make me as Samuel. May no one or nothing take your rightful place.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Winter Road Trip 08

Annie and I with the Georgia folks, Sponbergs & Griffins

Hello everyone! This is an update from Annie, post-road trip. We traveled a lotta miles. We also had quite a range of experiences. We got to visit some old friends who have moved away from Chicago, spend good time with our interns for next year (and meet their families!), speak to churches, pastors, missions coordinators, get wined and dined by a southern businessman, and Allan even got the chance to speak to a couple 7th grade classes in Georgia about South Africa! ...It was a public school and he couldn't tell the students about the Biblical mandate behind our work, but he was able to challenge them to consider the choice between only living for themselves, or living for others. Hopefully planted a few seeds of counter-cultural thinking that Jesus can water with deeper truths later on.

Low Country Boil at the Griffin's

Jamie, Greg & Tyson // Will Brown with his famous smoke house brisket

By far one of the best parts of our trip, however, was meeting Pastor Larry Reid in North Carolina. After doing a presentation on AR at an informational session (organized to help our interns raise support, and to spread the Revolution) one woman approached us. Jeannie was actually hosting the meeting, and after hearing us share, really wanted us to meet a pastor friend of hers who serves at a small African American church in Chapel Hill. She contacted Pastor Larry, and before we knew it, we were at his church, 7:30am the next morning. This was a big shock for us, as very few pastors would give up any pulpit time this last minute to someone they had never met before (understandable!) This also happened to be the morning of the "spring forward" time change, and when we showed up, there were only 5 people there to greet us in the tiny chapel. I have to admit, my expectations were low, and I was fighting the feeling that we should have stayed in bed. During worship a few more people trickled in, and by the time Allan got up to share, we were sitting with a congregation of about 15. After sharing about our work, Allan sat down, and Pastor Larry promptly challenged his church, "I think it important church, that we put our faith into action, and support this couple’s ministry monthly." I was in shock, and unsure how serious he was. After a challenging sermon on Ezekiel, the Pastor approached us and said, "Let's get some sinews on the bones of this vision." I started crying, couldn't help it.

Jeannie, Allan, Annie and Pastor Larry

No one before has ever responded to us like Pastor Larry did. We went to brunch with him after, where he asked us great, thoughtful questions, gave us some serious and very helpful advice, and told us that he wants his church to be regular supporters of the first orphan home. This meeting was a much-needed gift to us of like-minded fellowship and deep encouragement. It was also the latest installment of a long-term, focus-shifting lesson God has been working on regarding our faith in His provision for around two years now: when we are tempted to believe that God has failed to provide what is necessary to realize the vision he has cast, we are wrong. That one took a while for me to get. Then the rest: if we push hard into Jesus, get serious about taking him at his word, if we wrestle with him when we’re frustrated, confess to him and to each other when we fail or judge others or don’t believe in him, and do the last thing he’s told us until he tells us the next thing…well, good things happen. I don’t know exactly what yet, but I do know that the more serious we’ve become about these things, the more real Jesus has become to me, and the more I am forced to go to him for advice, for energy, for encouragement, for actual moment-to-moment sustenance. It is by far the scariest and most exhausting way I have ever lived daily life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.


In Chapel Hill at the literal Chapel on the Hill