Wednesday, December 24, 2008


It is Christmas Eve and the hustle in preparation of family gatherings has given way to a quiet morning when all are asleep. Later today hugs will be shared with those we have not seen for some time, as well as with those we saw just this week. Our family will eat, sing, and watch as our youngest act out the Christmas story.

Every year it is different as new grand and great-grandchildren take their places in the drama. It may never win an award, but it has been done every year for as long as I can remember, and its importance to the family is reflected as each new generation of young adults assume roles in costuming, composing, and producing. Some who once “played” the baby Jesus now wrap their own babies in “swaddling cloths” as they become the celebrated child born in Bethlehem.

That story continues to serve as the platform for the ministry of Missional Church Center. We exist to assist the church in reclaiming her role in sharing that story until every neighbor and all those in the nations have opportunity to know and worship Emmanuel.

As this year closes, I have just returned from Latvia where I taught Empowering the Church for Mission with future church planters and pastors at Baltic Pastoral Institute. I invite you to pray for these students as they move from classroom preparation to starting churches in the cities of their nation. Their challenge is great in a country of 2.5 million people where less then five percent know the Christ of Christmas.

It was wonderful to return home last Sunday to Northway Church, our faith community in Dallas. More than ever before, the Northway family evidenced the practice of missional churches to “Rewrite worship every week.” This means maximum participation by those in the congregation, bringing their sacrifices of praise to God, the audience of One. It was awesome! He was glorified. I was blessed!

We are working to complete video updates from the Latvia mission. Watch for them to be posted in the days ahead. Christmas blessings of joy and peace to you and those you love.

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