Sunday, March 09, 2008

Meeting Seth Barnes

As with most Sundays, our plan was to go to church as normal. Then yesterday we were excited to read on Seth Barnes blog that he was speaking in Chicago. So we zipped off a quick email, to find out what church and rearranged our plans to join him for worship. This meant getting up a little earlier than normal since this church started earlier than ours.

I got out of bed at 7:00 AM to grab a shower and be ready to walk out the door at 8:30. My oldest awoke with me, and asked if I could log her on to my computer to play Webkinz since she was up an hour early. Unfortunately, neither my wife nor I had remembered to reset the clocks for the time jump. As I booted the computer, which automatically adjusts clock, the reality of the time change came crashing in. I awoke the entire house in a tizzy, began throwing clothes on children, and rushing around to get a family of 5 dressed for a church where we are foreigners and out the door in now what was 20 minutes.

We made the departure, and arrived at the church, who did not start till 15 minutes late, on time. Children were settled and we were ready for the message. It was a great sermon, with 3 great points. Truly it seemed as if it was message God had spent a week preparing us to hear. . Seth first spoke of dreaming Big for God. That is not a problem around our house right now, we are talking quite often about the calling we both feel, we are talking a lot with the kids about the differences between US life and African life. We have been dreaming big since we God back from Swaziland. Seth's final point was to RISK for God's dream.

It was as if he was talking to me, and to my heart. This is where we are at. The dream is solid, the calling is concrete, and the risk is looming. Risk seems a four letter word. Dreams without risk are easy, since with no liability there is no loss. I was cut to the quick teetering between my passion for reckless abandon and my duty of responsible adulthood. I don't know what that means to my life and our family, but I know it is a balance that will teach me to be more dependent on God than I have ever known in the past.

After the service we got to spend some time with Seth. As we were talking Seth asked if I and the family would come to the teen class and let him "interview" us about the process we are going through. It was a VERY neat experience. No prep, no outlines, no points. Just Q&A about our trip, and how that has changed us, and changed our direction. I did most the talking, but even Christi shared about how holding a orphan with malnutrition, sickness, and most likely AIDS wrecked her world.

It was a great Lord's Day!!!! It was an honor to hear a message that seemed so directed to our hearts. It was an honor to meet this "newest" faith hero of mine. It was an honor to speak to these kids about exactly HOW BIG our God is. It was an honor, just to be a little player in God's great kingdom!

UPDATE: Sermon Audio from Western Springs Baptist Church

UPDATE 2: Who Is Seth Barnes - Seth Barnes is the director of Adventure in Missions and the World Race. His work is responsible for over 65,000 people finding a place in Short Term and Long term Missions. His Bio and Blog are both very informative.


Elysa said...

WOW! Its incredible to read what is going on in your lives and how eerily similar things are happening in OUR life. Not only did I go on the same PHYSICAL trip with you two, but I'm going on the same spiritual journey and even hearing the same sermons...preached by two different men in two different states who have never met before. Yep, your description matches EXACTLY what our pastor has been preaching on the last three Sundays.

His sermon was so good yesterday, I even blogged about it.

I'm really reconsidering how much we Americans have made "safety" and "being practical/wise" into false God's. We worship at the feet of planning and being careful. I realize that true wisdom DOES come from God...but let's face it, there are lots of times when God calls us to do things that aren't very safe and don't seem very wise. Just look at Corrie Ten Boom, the apostle Paul, Lottie Moon, or Amy Carmichael...they are all examples of people who seemed to be doing some reckless risk-taking and DEFINITELY not adding to their retirement fund. Lottie Moon actually starved herself to death because she refused to let the Chinese around her starve to death, instead giving them HER food.

MAN! Now that's paying the ultimate price in a risky life.

Keep pressing on, Kevin and Christi. God's dreams for you and your family are bigger than you can ever imagine.

Love to you both,

Elysa said...

P.S. Was Seth teaching somewhere that you think will post his sermon on a website for viewing or listening?

Elysa said...

Just found Seth's blog post giving some of the highlights of the talk. I've got it linked at my blog though I'd still love to listen to/watch the complete version.

Please tell Mrs. B that I'm praying for her healing!

Elysa said...

Found the website with Seth's sermon. Looking forward to listening to it tomorrow.

Praying for Christi tonight.


Elysa said...

I listened to the audio of Sunday's sermon and it was as good as I expected. I'm going to be including some of his thoughts in my talk tomorrow to the Baptist Student Union at Mississippi University for Women.

Y'all be praying for me, okay?

And you know God is talking when not only am I hearing the message at my church and online, but also in a YOUNG INDIANA JONES movie! Yep, there's a part where an older man says to Indie, who has been pursuing desperately for a huge diamond, "don't put off your dreams because you're too busy pursuing things you don't need."

If you want to watch it sometime, the title is THE TREASURE OF THE PEACOCK'S EYE.

Praying that your headache will be gone and that Christi is feeling completely restored today.


Anonymous said...

Good to read about another family where disorganization does not get in the way of adaptation, and being where God wants you to be. Good to hear a bit about Barnes, too.

But here's a suggestion: you can put in a link or say a bit more about someone like Barnes, instead of assuming we know who you're talking about and why what he says matters.

I'm from Reba Place Church in Evanston, not an "emergent" church in every way but still trying to stay informed. Blogs like yours give hints to others (like me) about where to look for help, ...but only if you try to educate the unindoctrinated a bit more.

Mark Nielsen, Skokie, IL

Kevin J Bowman said...


Thank you, I think you're right. I did not even notice I had no reference to who he was.

I am familiar with Reba Place. You are a Mennonite Community that shares a common purse if I am correct?

I think we have so much to learn from the lifestyle your fellowship has taken on.