A New Three-Part Series: [i3]

Mission is more and different from recruitment to our brand of religion; it is the alerting of people to the universal reign of God through Christ. South African Missiologist, David Bosch

A cacophony of sound emanated from the streets of Cairo as tributaries merged into a central river of traffic known as the Ring Road. I quickly gained an enormous amount of respect for our bus driver in the midst of such turmoil and chaos. Perched within the precarious safety of our air-conditioned bus, I noticed many of the men bobbing along the endless sea of people had black smudge-marks on their foreheads. I asked our Egyptian guide about the black marks. He said they were zebibah (a prayer bump). It was a mark of piety. It represented the prayer life of a devout man.

Later that same day, I stood barefoot on the scarlet carpet within the Alabaster Mosque. Hundreds of world travelers whispered native languages in excited hush tones as they exchanged words of awe and wonder. I silently marveled at the architecture. You may watch a quick travel video here to see for yourself. The Mosque of Mohammed Ali could no doubt rival Notre Dame or Westminster Abby.

My gaze drifted toward our tour guide who patiently stood next to me with his hands folded behind his back. He looked like a proud parent. It was then I noticed he didn’t have a black mark on his forehead. I leaned toward him and privately asked why he didn’t have a black mark on his forehead. He smiled as he looked down at me but he didn’t answer. Then, I said, “I am glad God looks at the mark on our heart and not at the mark on our forehead.” In the midst of the cacophony and splendor two Christ-followers shared an unexpected moment of grace.

This Sunday we begin a three-part series called i-3: Integrate, Infuse and Ignite. Integrate messages are designed to help us learn how to merge simple, ordinary and practical ways of sharing our faith into the never-ending stream of our daily life. We can discover together how we may have a lasting impact for the Kingdom of God in ordinary and often unexpected ways. Our September Infuse messages plan to challenge us to become better leaders by becoming more responsible in a winsome Christ-like way. The Ignite series will introduce the Holy Spirit to our congregation in a fresh new way. We will host an event called the Ignite Weekend Experience on October 24-26. Plan to join us--we’re onto something exciting!

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.        I Peter 3:15 NIV

-Pastor Jen