Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May e-update

An old 80s Faberge commercial talked about telling two friends about the wonders of the shampoo and they told two friends and so on and so on.  As the model spoke the “and so on” the pictures of her multiplied until the screen was filled with small pictures of her face.  The multiplication factor of evangelizing for the shampoo was quite effective.  (You can still find the commercial on youtube.)

Paul said it this way, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2).  This is Paul carrying on the commission that Jesus gave to the disciples recorded for us in Matthew 28, “As you go, make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit teaching them to obey everything I commanded you” (Rich’s rendition).  The process of making disciples is an ongoing, as you go, journey.  It happens formally in teaching times and small group Bible study times.  It happens informally as we sit down for a meal together or hang out together in the ROC House or in coffee shop and talk about what Jesus is doing in us and what he is calling us to next.  It happens when we are serving together at a prayer table offering prayer for others who do or do not know Jesus or sweating together as we do a service project for others.  

Lately, we’ve been thinking about it in terms of rock climbing.  When I first learned to climb, a friend showed us “the ropes” . . . literally.   He talked with us about the basic knots we needed to know and the basic verbal commands we needed to learn and give.  Our mentor challenged us to keep our eye on the big picture and not get overly distracted by the minute.  After a rather brief “classroom” time we went climbing because the best way to learn how to climb is to climb.  

I think this is where we might have made some mistakes as the church.  Christian discipleship is about a life lived following Jesus in the ordinary day-to-day world.  We all know this.  But when we think about the practices that make up the “training” of a disciple too often they are primarily cerebral and passive.  We are to live the Jesus life in the world; not compartmentalizing it to particular “religious” times during the week.  The Spirit empowers us to live out God’s rule in the midst of daily existence.  We are empowered to live holy lives in very unholy contexts actively engaging others with the grace of God and calling them to follow Jesus and to tell two friends who might tell two friends and so on and so on.  Thanks for enabling the “and so on” here at OU!

Friday, May 27, 2011

April e-update

Dad’s brother was in a nursing home at the time.  Uncle Tiny had an infection that resulted in gangrene in his leg.  He refused an amputation and was dying as the gangrene spread.  My dad sent me to the nursing home with my saxophone to play a couple of songs for my uncle who, by this time, didn’t always know the people who came into his room.  I was young and scared.  I didn’t want to do it.  I hadn’t played the saxophone for very long at the time and didn’t think that I would play well enough to be much of a blessing but Dad said that Tiny would enjoy it so I went; mostly out of obedience.

Dad’s family was a family of musicians.  The tapes that I heard of my Uncle Tiny and his brothers playing saxophones together were incredible.  They were technically flawless, superb instrumentalists.  This is probably one reason I was so nervous.  But I was sent to play.

When I arrived with my horn, music stand and music in hand, I was shaking.  The room had a peculiar smell beyond the smell of urine that seemed to permeate the nursing home in general.  I greeted my uncle and put my sax together got my music on the stand and began to play a couple of songs that I don’t remember now.  I remember that my uncle was awake but I don’t remember that he acknowledged me or that we had any real conversation at all.  I finished playing, put my horn away and left not knowing if my uncle was ever aware of my presence.  I had been sent by my dad to bless.

Regardless of the results that’s exactly what we’re all called to be and to do.  We are blessed and sent to be a blessing.  Last month Jared wrote how he, Crystal and some students were sent to be a blessing in TN during spring break.  This quarter as Jared and I have taught in Cross Walk, Jesus continues to send us to class mates, neighbors, friends, family and even strangers to be a blessing.  One way that happened this month was through a “Who is Jesus?” table at the College Gate on Good Friday.  The students made themselves available for conversations and gifted people with books and one with a Bible.  Another way we (Teske family) sought to bless was by welcoming students into our home for the annual Teske Easter celebration (there were 17 of us all together).

Whether in groups, by two or three, or as individuals we are seeking to do our best to play the music of the gospel for others who may not even be aware of the import of the melody line.  We trust the Holy Spirit will make these attempts a blessing to others.  Thank you for enabling us to do this here at OU.  God bless you as you are sent to play the gospel so that those around you are blessed.