It's been a great weekend, and I'm off tomorrow. :) Plus, the kids are out of school, which all factors in to a late pancake breakfast and maximum trampoline action. Zion doesn't quite have the heft to be safe on the trampoline, but Jackson and Grayson can be launched into the stratosphere with very little risk of permanent damage.
In the comments section of the last entry, someone inquired about more details on our upcoming move. The whole story is so complex that it takes about an hour to tell - I can't imagine how long it would take me to be happy with a written version - but here's the Readers Digest edition. For several years, Kelsey and I have been pursuing a life of prayer. While church planting we set aside every Saturday night to pray with a group - it was a part of our regular routine that we grew to love even though we had little knowledge of how to practice sustainable prayer.
When I took on what developed into my current role at the Vineyard, we met a group of others doing a similar thing - dedicating a certain time for prayer each week. The difference was that they were practicing what is called the Harp and Bowl model of prayer...a merging of worship and prayer modeled after what is found in Revelation - the songs of worship and the prayers of the saints intermingled.
That group became the Cincinnati House of Prayer, and we learned much from the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. At this point, we've learned about all we can doing it 'hands on' with our friends and knowing we want to grow more in this facet, we are choosing to relocate there to study and develop in an atmosphere where they are doing it 24/7. Our plan is to return to Cincy after a time and assist the group that is doing the stuff here, along with any others we can recruit to join us (IHOP is amazingly free w/it's staff).
A new development will be that I will remain on extended (unpaid) staff here at VCC and return a few times yearly to teach Servant Evangelism Weekend Intensives. I'm very excited about that because as much as I'm pulled to IHOP, I'm sure our time at VCC is not finished.
As for the 'why raise funds' question...for years we've considered missions in two contexts - preaching/teaching, and mercy acts such as relief work. IHOP is a ressurection of a third type - intercessory missionaries. It's really a throwback to Bangor, Ireland (500's AD) when a local leader summoned the men of Europe to pray. 3000 showed up and they began praying in 3 eight hour shifts, 24/7. They and their decendants prayed for over 300 years that way - and when Europe emerged from the dark ages, it was the priests of Bangor who criss-crossed the continent teaching them to read...scripture. Another example would have been Count Zinzendorf in Hernhutt, Germany in the 1700's whose 120+ year prayer meeting led to the establishment of the Morovian missions movement, and such conversions as John Wesley. In each case, monumental things came from a long term, 24/7 prayer movement that spread out across the earth. These are the things we feel strongly enough about to ask friends, neighbors, and others with a like heart to partner with us in. We firmly believe the spiritual condition of men can be softened and ultimately changed when spirit-led efforts are fronted by night and day prayer. If I'm wrong, I'd better become a secular social worker. If I'm right, then this is no sacrifice for any of us to either go or assist.
Regardless, the whole decision was not easy, although in a sense it was once we made it because of a series of prophetic occurances and words that we have seen since the decision was made. It was exactly like most of our decisions - God requires us to let go of the trapeze before the next one swings into view. Again, I'd love to tell the whole story but it would just take too long to type out. If you're local and can pony up the price of a cup of coffee...I'd be happy to share it with you. :)