Compassion Fatigue – Caring without Losing your Mind

Man worship god

Every job has its hazards.  Some are pretty obvious; the danger of being a fire fighter or working the high steel but for vocations in the helping industries the hazards can often be less obvious.  There is a real danger of Compassion Fatigue for those who spend time caring for people.  These include physicians, nurses, counselors, therapist, teachers and most certainly pastors.

Working with people in a multitude of forms of distress can take a significant toll on our personal lives.  Hearing about the challenges, pain and struggle of others is akin to experiencing that trauma ourselves.  While many of us are empathetic by nature and gifting, our greatest gift can also be the place of our greatest pain when we continually “pick-up” the pain of others.  This is called transference. Continue reading

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What is Church? Part 3: Best Practices for Weaving a Visible Tapestry of Church

The Visible Tapestry of Church: Practicing Sacraments with Life!

mosaic art 5Within the hidden tapestry of the Kingdom and the invisible Church, God’s idea is for there to be visible, local, and unique shapes of church where at least 2 to 3 followers of Jesus gather together, and live life together. These organized and visible expressions of church will be made up of diverse ethnic groups, age groups, socioeconomic groups, styles, and models. Each of these unique shapes of church when seen as a connected whole form a colorful and beautiful mosaic. Each church is one of the threads that when woven together create a tapestry that reflects a picture of what Jesus and His Kingdom look like.Semi permeable boundaries

The unchangeable DNA or nucleus is Jesus and His Kingdom way of living. Then there are the distinctive practices that form the semi-permeable borders or boundaries of the visible church, defining who we are and what we are about. Irrespective of culture, context, model of church, or period in history, these practices have given the visible church a clear collective identity.

How we express these practices, or the packaging through which these practices are expressed will be varied and diverse as we try to be culturally relevant. Continue reading

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What is Church? Part 2: Best Practices for Weaving an Invisible Tapestry of Church

Visible and Invisible Tapestry 1To fully understand God’s idea of church, we need to see the Church through the bifocals of an invisible yet visible tapestry that God is weaving. The hidden dimension or structure of the tapestry is often invisible to the naked eye. It is mystical, and though very real, hard for us to see clearly, and hard for us to define. The Church is one thread in this larger tapestry of the Kingdom taking shape.

As human beings, we need the invisible God to express Himself in the earthy and tangibleneighbouring 3 human experiences of life. Everyday God is revealing His invisible nature through the threads of joy, intimacy, beauty, justice, creativity, sorrow, and pain woven into our human activities of work, play, feasting, making love, a smile, a song, a death, and the new life of a baby being born. All of life is sacred and holy when one has a God saturated view of the world. Continue reading

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What is Church? Part 1: The Invisible and Visible Community of Jesus

Visible and Invisible ChurchThere is a lot of discussion and confusion around the word ‘church’ these days. What is Church, and who is part of the church? How does one join or get in on this faith community? Is the church some mystical, invisible, world wide, secret society who have a covert, or sometimes not so covert, mission to convert everyone to the religion of Christianity? Is there a secret hand shake to identify whose in, or do you have to have the fish symbol on your car to belong to the club? Is the church a meeting in a building on Sunday morning at 11am where some people called Christians gather to practice some strange rituals like the Eucharist, or listen to a talking head trying to be a stand up comedian telling jokes that are not all that funny? Continue reading

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The Emerging Church: A Beautiful Mess

Emerging Church 1Have you ever heard the following comments: “If we could only be like the early church!” or “Wouldn’t it be great to have been part of the church in the book of Acts!” Often these comments come from a genuine desire to see the church act more consistently with who we say we are as followers of Jesus. The perception being that the early New Testament church was the pinnacle of things, and that progressively except for a few blips in history, the church has been losing ground. There is a desire to return to the those halcyon days of the church when the church at certain points in history was a force to be reckoned with.

“I believe that most people, church or non-churched, are all on a quest to find the ‘real thing’, or truth founded in love. This journey was never meant to be traveled alone, but with a community of fellow seekers or friends.”

Though wonderful things happened in and through the early church, there was also a lot ofMessy Church mess. When you read the story of the early church you see a whole lot of bickering, division, dysfunction, lying, power politics, and sex scandals mixed in with the miracles, rapid growth, radical giving to the poor, and martyrdom. The bottom line is that the church throughout history has been made up of messy, broken people that for some confounding reason God has chosen to partner with Him in bringing about His ‘Grand Dream’ of restoring and reconciling all of creation back to Himself.

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Welcome To My Table

This is a guest post by Katelyn Wall.

Nations at the Table 2

To say that I was not lucky to call Australia home would be only short of inferior pride. I witnessed what it was like to be on the other side of the western world. To live and breathe among those who have little compared to what you call much. And yet, as I walked along the dusty road with children running by my side, I reflected on the months of wandering and remembered the differences in cultures, but the familiarities as well. Australia and Papua New Guinea. Singapore and India. Very different, but very much the same.

Nations at the Table 1

Imagine a banquet table, with guests that represent every nation on the planet. Everyone at the table breathes and functions the same way. Same red blood, same thirst for water and hunger for air. Sure, we all look different, but so I am told about everyone, even within one culture there are differences.

Old Woman

Around ever ones neck is a thing called culture. We carry it with us and it is what separates us from the nation next to us. Each necklace is coloured uniquely, sending an array of colours and patterns along the table. Each has brought a dish to share, with ingredients that represent each part of what their nations stands for.

Looking around the room, the host asks you which nation is inferior and which dish is the most valuable. How can you determine this when we know no two people are the same? Rather, each is different, but together, in harmony, each nation has something else to bring. Neither is better, so we begin to embrace what each individual, each nation, each culture can bring to the table.Together they make one family: the World.

It is the same with Man and Woman.

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Transitioning From Base-Camp to Battlefield

A Note from Tim:

One of the values of the Mosaic is to champion and call out all the voices in our collage of communities far and wide. We want to hear from the next generation. We invite them  to speak into our lives. and help shape what the Mosaic will become. Katelyn is the daughter of a life long faithful forgiving friend of mine named John Wall. Though we are separated by many miles geographically, we treasure our friendship and whenever we get together its like we live a few houses down from each other. I know Katelyn personally and commend her to you

“Hello, my name is Katelyn, and as a twenty-year-old nursing student from Melbourne, Australia.

Traning 1I know what it means to remain connected to community. I have just completed a six-month discipleship training school with youth organization ‘Youth With A Mission’. It included spending three months in Papua New Guinea, sharing the light and love of Jesus and strengthening the nation to live accordingly.

Upon my return, I quickly discovered the daunting task of transitioning from base-camp to battlefield. In the process of avoiding isolation, it is a challenge to fit the ‘new you’ into the template that the old you, that you left behind. It takes time, patience and determination as you transition across, and my hope is that I am able to encourage readers as I process with these words. I got involved with the Mosaic through the life long friendship of my father and the Schultz family and I hope you will accept me generously into this community you call family. Please enjoy and be encouraged!

Base-camp. Defined simply as a place of preparation, and a place whichBasecamp equips one for the task ahead. My time with YWAM became just that. As I became ready for the life that waited and the task that was ahead of me, I went back to the foundations of why I believe what I believe.

It was a place that took me back to the basics of faith, and as I shortly discovered, going back requires time, attention and an environment, in which certain variables that often lead to distraction are removed. They are laid rest for a certain season of time to intensify without hindrance the growth and development in preparation for a life out on the ‘battle-field’.

Adventure SeekingYet, no matter how much you prepare for it mentally, physically, or spiritually, the shock of the battlefield still hits you severely as you leave the boundaries of safety within the camp. You go out, entering the cold air, knowing and accepting that you may not return to the place you have called home. As your fellow brothers are sent on to different missions, you walk out not knowing if you will see the people you have called family again. It is a time that you can only do your best to prepare for. They tell you about the shock that hits you, and though you see it coming, it still hits you by surprise. Then you reach the battlefield. Still, alone, it tests everything that you have prepared for in the previous season. Frozen and motionless, you are unaware of the danger you are in by standing still.

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It Cuts Both Ways

Mirror-© Aleksandar Jocic -“So, how did you find yourself living in Arizona?” I asked the twenty-something year old during a recent visit to the United States.   She took a deep breath and told me that she and her family are Muslim and lived in Bosnia during the war which saw the country torn apart by terrible conflict including genocide, mass rape and other horrific atrocities. She spoke of how the Christians came to their town and told them they needed to convert to Christianity or face the consequences which included the loss of livelihood, imprisonment or death. Continue reading

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Our Deepest Longing in Relationships: Experiencing and Practicing Faithfulness and Unfailing Kindness

Faithful FriendMost of our problems in marriages, relationships, community, and church flow from a faulty view of the nature of God and the toxic residue we carry from our experiences of broken trust, promises and covenants not kept, and of betrayal in our relationships with one another. We get tired and resentful when we initiate with people, and they don't initiate in return. We often feel like we have been used in relationships to benefit someone else's agenda, or on the flip side we've been guilty of using people to meet our needs. We have a hard time trusting God or people because they have not kept their end of the bargain from our perspective.

I believe this is how many folks outside of the church feel when we develop a relationship with the subtle unspoken, or sometimes spoken agenda of converting them, or getting them into our church. People are smart and can smell a slick vacuum cleaner salesmen or multi-level marketing scheme a mile away.  What would it look like to love people with no strings attached? Is that even possible or right? God's Compassion 1

I believe that our best example of how authentic relationship works comes from God. The highest value in the Trinity is relationship flowing out of love. God loves us with no strings attached. He keeps His end of the bargain even when we don't. He remains faithful even when we are unfaithful. (II Tim 2:13) He is a covenant and promise keeping God. (Hebrews 6:13-19) God takes the risk of loving us first while being fully aware that we may choose not to love Him in return. The Trinity will continue to love us even when we don't reciprocate that love. He demonstrates unfailing kindness to us.

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Timing is Everything: Doing Our Part and Chilling Out

11th hour 2Have you ever needed something to happen where there is an impending deadline after which the consequences seem pretty dire? Have you ever had a situation where things worked out at the last minute or the 11th hour? It may be some finances coming in, a job opening that you are waiting on, a document being processed, and a house or other item selling. Most of us get stressed out when we want or need something big or small to happen according to our timeline. We feel out of control and that our fate is in the hands of others. When things don't go according to our plans we worry, fret, throw our hands in the air, and maybe even throw a temper tantrum or hissy fit! We become either fatalistic, or some of us take things into our own hands and try to make the desired result come to fruition, usually leading to more frustration and weariness when there is a delay or roadblock.

Timing is really all about doing our part and then letting go, trusting that there is a perfect or right time for everything.

It is coming to the realization that we have a Creator who is involved in theTrust 1 affairs of this world, both big and small, and cares about every concern we have. As Matthew 6 says, we have a Father who cares for the sparrows and makes sure they get fed. He even makes sure the lilies are clothed beautifully. If He cares that much for birds and flowers, how much more does He care for our needs? God calls us to do our part and then relax and trust that He will work things out at the right time!

It is also the revelation that as much as we think we are in control of things, we are not. The sooner we learn this lesson the less negative emotional energy we will expend, which in the end does little but increase our stress levels and raise our blood pressure!

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