Tag Archives: Environmental Stewardship

Small Footprint, Big Handprint – a book report

Every once in a while you come across a book that echos the cry of your heart – in a lot of ways, Tri Robinson's Small Footprint, Big Handprint: How to Live Simply and Love Extravagantly does just that. It puts words to the desire to go beyond the status quo of normal, everyday life – to go beyond our wildest dreams and change the world for the Kingdom of God. This may seem like a cliche – but it is truly the cry of my heart – one that will not shut up or be quieted.

Small Footprint, Big Handprint echos this cry and gives the Church a choice: simplify your life and live big for God or continue with the same old live that fades into nothing.

I, for one, choose to take on the challenge and change the world for the Glory of the Most High Lord.

Summary:

"For when I begin to live simply thus leaving a smaller footprint, I can begin to love extravagantly thus making a bigger handprint."

This quote sums up the entire book. If we really want to make a difference in the world for the Kingdom of Heaven, we must begin to simplify our life – getting out of debt, living simpler, and basically creating a smaller footprint. Once we have done this, we will have the resources (time, money, energy, etc) to pour into the work of the Kingdom. [@more@]

"Whenever God calls me to do something, I want to be able to do it immediately, free from excessive responsibility that prohibits me from following him fully. And when I'm living a simplified life, I'm more free to love others, demonstrating the power of the Gospel at its essence."

Through out the book, Tri provides actions points for people who want to try to simplify their lives. At the very end, he recaps everything in four steps to reformation:

  1. Consecration – a willful decision to commit oneself to God
  2. Transformation – this is an issue of the mind. It is the process of coming into a new worldview – the "Kingdom perspective"
  3. Sanctification – the process of which God makes us more like him. God renders our hearts "to see the world the way he sees it and gives us not only the desire to do something about it, but empowers our gifts and abilities to be effective".
  4. Reformation – we must be willing to let God re-form not only our individual lives, but also we must be willing to let God reform us on the corporate church level.

"A reformer is an agent of social change, a person who will never be satisfied with a complacent status quo society that's destined for destruction. A reformer is a fighter who as the heart of a Spirit-filled warrior. They are not overwhelmed with hopelessness and despair, but have received the call to place themselves on the very front lines of a world in crisis, seeing it as Kingdom opportunity. They have embraced the adventure. They are people who believe that God delights in doing extraordinary things with ordinary people – if they will have the faith to believe it and a willingness to step out."

Likes:

I love how Tri calls people to live boldly – to embrace the adventure of living for Christ:

"The adventure is not an organization; it's a philosophy…The adventure is simply embracing the idea that we can join a movement that is a spirit-inspired and change people's lives. Try as we may, we can't keep God under control. It's up to us to recognize what he is doing and join him in the great adventure that he is laying out for all his people who will willfully and joyfully follow."

Through out the book, Tri provides actions points for the reader to follow – both in a small group and as an individual. This is a rare jewel to find in a book.

Dislikes:

None.

Serve God Save The Planet – A book review

I have resolved to start writing book reviews on all the books that I read. Seeing that I tend to read a ton of books, I'm praying that I will be able to force myself pause after each one and type up something. =)

The first book on the block is Serve God Save The Planet by Matthew Sleeth.

Summary:

In keeping up with the title, the book show how taking care of the environment and serving God can (and should be) connected. It does this by showing the connection between areas that are usually disconnected:

  • Materialistic lifestyles
  • Abuse of natural resources
  • Rise of cancer and health problems
  • Poverty in third world countries

Through out the entire book, Dr. Sleeth continues to point the reader back to the One True God:

"For me to love God, I must love all people. This book has been about the works we can do to save the next generation. Some may say that I've shortchanged faith. The argument about good works and their relative merit to faith is as old as the book as Acts. The Bible settles this issue: There is no faith without works, and no works without faith. It is like arguing the merit of my left hand versus my right as I flatten a piece of clay between them. One hand may be stronger, but it is useless without its weaker half."

[@more@]Like:

The way Dr. Sleeth connects the dots between a cheap fast-food burger and the Central/South America farmers who are clear-cutting forests. The loss of forest in the Amazon is in turn helping to cause droughts in Africa, which drives poverty and death. Everything is connected…

I also enjoyed the way Dr. Sleeth calls for the Church to simplify their lives so they can do more the Kingdom of God. For example: he calls for people to get rid of their TVs and spend more time with their families. This is something everyone in the US needs to hear as the TV is becoming the next generation's baby sitter.

Dislike:

Sometimes Dr. Sleeth gets a little carried away in telling 'war' stories from his days as an ER doctor. While they are good stories, I didn't see how they fit into the topics being discussed. =/

Ranking (1-10 with 10 being excellent):  8.5

It's a quick and easy read with some great information.

What an exciting time!

I had a meeting this afternoon with a member of our church about the possibility of teaching an energy efficiency class to members of the community! The class would be based out of our church's food pantry facility and would be offered every twelve to ten weeks. This is an answer to a year long dream to take Let's Tend The Garden principles to the community in practical ways!

What makes it even sweeter is that God brought someone on board the LTTG team who's passion is energy efficiency!!! This means there's someone who can champion the class without everything relying on me (delegation is a GOOD thing!). And if this was not enough, God placed someone in position with the food pantry with the SAME VISION!! Only He could have worked all this out!! Hallelujah!!!! Laughing

While I was at the church, I bumped into a friend who leads a crisis pregnancy center. We discussed the need to have a family planning class in the church to help couples understand the Biblical foundations to having children as well as the best ways to delay having children.

Currently the main education source on birth control is the world as the church is not addressing the issue. We tell single people not to have sex before marriage or if they do, not to have an abortion. What we don’t to is education married couples on how to protect against unwanted pregnancies in a way doesn't kill unborn children. [@more@]

Add to this the fact that our society considers children as an unwanted 'thing', and we have a problem. We, the Church, need to teach people that children are a GIFT FROM GOD and are to desired, not despite.

Today was a brief conversation in a hallway – I don't know what God is going to do… I pray that somehow, someway, we will be able to create a class or seminary that addresses these issues within the church. Only He knows when that would be or who will teach it… Undecided

May the glory be to Him who create all life.

"The Great Warming" – a movie night and discussion

Sunday evening we hosted a movie night / discussion at our church about climate change. We started by watching the film The Great Warming– a wonderful documentary about the changing weather patterns in the world. Unlike the “Inconvenient Truth”, “The Great Warming” has a positive feel to it – showing that even though the world’s weather patterns are changing, there are things we can do to help soften the impact. It also has a ton of interviews with various scientists and evangelical leaders. If you have a chance to watch it, I would recommend you do so. Wink

After the movie, we had a great discussion about some of the issues surrounding climate change. One topic was about the compact fluorescent light bulbs that are being heavily promoted right now. Some people are worried about the mercury content of the bulbs, which, while small, is an issue. As part of our discussion we discovered that “overall mercury emission by CFLs is less than the mercury released into the atmosphere by coal-fired power generation for series of equivalent incandescent lamps over the same period.” (Wikipedia) Of course, not all power comes from coal-fired power plants so you will need to make your discussion on whether or not you support CFLs. Personally, I like them. Cool

We talked about some other items as well – but the most emotionally charged item was about the “alarmist video” we watched. Since I know some of you don’t agree with the whole “climate change” deal, I would like suggest that the disagreement is not whether the earth climate is changing, but WHY it’s changing. In other words, is this change man made or just a natural weather cycle?

My personal view is it doesn’t matter why. It is happening, and we, as the body of Christ need to be prepared to help those who are affected by changing weather patterns. Nine times out of ten it is going to be the poor, uneducated, elderly, and/or young who are affected. Just think about the recent wave of hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico; the drought across the south and west; or, internationally, the elderly in Europe who died due to abnormal heat waves. [@more@]

In addition to being a voice for those in need, it also makes sense to limit the use of non-renewable resources – especially with the rising prices of oil. Regardless of whether or not carbon emissions is causing the earth to get warmer, we do know that carbon emissions is the leading cause of air pollution – which, in turn, is causing high rates of lung diseases among Americans. If we cut carbon emission for no other reason but to reduce air pollution in the fight to improve our general health, I say let’s do it! A carbon offset is what we all need.

Two really good papers about global warming have been written from the perspective of the church. One is written by Tri Robinson of the Vineyard Boise while the other was written by Ken Wilson of the Ann Arbor Vineyard. I would recommend reading them, even if you think it’s all a “liberal political hoax”. Wink

Urbana: Christian Environmental Stewardship?

A lot of Christians are worried about the rise of Creation Care or Christian Environmental Stewardship. To them it seems that the Church is getting away from it's primary message of preaching the Gospel. And to be honest, that is something that the Church needs to guard against. However, it does not mean that the Church needs to sit on the side lines of one of the most important issue in modern times.

We, the Church, need to awake to the reality that God cares for the environmental, the animals, and all those who will be affected by climate change. Some of us may disagree with the science behind climate change – but the fact remains that we, the Bride of Christ, need to be actively engaged in helping those with no clean water to drink or food to eat; those who are destroying their landscape via deforestation because they need the wood to cook and keep warm; those in danger of those both their lives and livelihood due to raising sea levels; those too poor or broken to help themselves.

We need to be living Isaiah 61 – both locally  here in our towns as well as international.

What brought on this post? Mainly two recent articles published by Urbana.org (InterVarsity Christian Fellowship). The first article looks at how missions and environmental stewardship goes together link peanut butter and jelly.

Called to serve an organization that promotes Christian environmental stewardship, I thought – at first – that I was being asked to abandon the great call to missions that had directed my entire career to that point. But I learned, and now believe fully, that I wasn’t leaving my call to missions at all. Instead, I was adding a new and important dimension to my understanding of what missions really is. God was bringing two great themes together in my mind and in my heart. – by Ed Brown, Director of Brackenhurst Center for the Care of Creation

The second article is a response to a book written by a secular biologist to the Church entitled "The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth". It is an amazing article that promotes Christ as the solution to every crisis:

“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [Christ], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:20). Christ offers a holistic solution to the physical, emotional, environmental, and spiritual needs of humanity. That Christianity doesn’t do a better job of addressing these needs is to our disgrace. The fault lies with some Christians’ woeful practice of Christ’s message, not with the message itself. Jill Feldkamp, Administrative Coordinator for InterVarsity's Global Projects

I pray that you all will enjoy these articles – and hopefully, take another look at the Churchs involvement with environmental stewardship.