10 Days Boston Praise Report

With Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical, and Taize services, the denominations of host churches for this year’s 10 Days Boston evening gatherings was more diverse than ever before. There were 19 different churches present the first night in Cambridge! Additionally, the Indian gathering brought together five different Indian people groups for the first time!

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18 churches represented at the first night in Cambridge

With this diversity, though, comes the difficulty of defining the unity we share in Christ. The 10 Days theme that we chose this year was “One Heart” – When Jesus prays that we would be one as He is one, what does that mean? Who is involved in this oneness?
At one of the evening gatherings, I was sitting down for a time of fellowship, and one of the women asked me what my home church was. I told her that it was an evangelical church called Journey Church in Harvard Square. She turned to another lady at the table and asked, “Is she a Christian?” and then they spoke in five minutes in another language before determining that yes, I was.
This was an external example of the question that I believe we all are wrestling with. Is this denomination really following Jesus? Is this person really “saved?” Who is “in” and who is “out?”
But perhaps this is the wrong question for us to be asking. In engaging with brothers and sisters of different Christian streams, I believe our approach towards one another should be filled with grace and love rather than suspicion or judgement. We should seek to learn and understand, by asking “Who have you put your trust in?” and “What is your relationship with Jesus like?”
The bible describes that the unity we share in Christ as a unity not of doctrine but of Spirit (Eph. 4:3, 1 Cor 12:7, Phil 1:27). When I started to think about it, I’ve discovered that any two individuals don’t agree completely due to the nuances of theological understandings.
As Rev. JP Robins and the Northern Suburbs team grappled with the question: “What unites us and who do we unite with?” they determined that “We are one with whoever confesses ‘Jesus as Lord.'”
Yes, what makes us one is our revelation of Christ – our acknowledgement that before Him we are all desperate for His redeeming grace.
We must never lose the centrality of Jesus in our quest for unity because He is the only one who unites us.
Other testimonies
There’s truly nothing like getting to spend time with God, and one man who was able to join us for the majority of the daytime gatherings, remarked, “That was the best week of my life.”
A young couple was so inspired by the 10 Days vision after the first night in Cambridge that they traveled around the city every evening, making it to eight of the 10 Days gatherings with their young one-year-old son.
Here is a video clip from one of our morning worship sessions out in front of Harvard University. As you can see, God really released His joy over us and many students came to join in the dance!
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At the last gathering of 10 Days Boston, we stood in front of a wall of windows overlooking Boston to make declarations over the city. We also divided into groups and shared about how God was working among our various communities.
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Worshipping and praying over the city of Boston

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Night 2 – Pastors in the Northern Suburbs uniting in prayer

Taize group photo

Night 5 – UniteBoston friends coming together for the Taize prayer gathering at Trinity Church

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Connecting with God at the Fenway gathering on Night 7

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Night 9 – Father Dimitri explains about the history of the Orthodox Church

We praise God for the work that He has done to unite followers of Jesus during 10 Days Boston this year. We also celebrate the many other unity-minded initiatives that are bringing together the body of Christ in Greater Boston.

May God continue to bind us together to proclaim that Jesus is Lord over Boston!

Strategic Prayer for Boston

How do you pray for a city?

It can seem to be overwhelming to discern how we can be praying for Boston. Yet Boston is just made up of various congregations and Christ-followers serving as Jesus’ hands and feet in their individual communities.

At the last gathering of 10 Days Boston last Saturday, we stood in front of a wall of windows overlooking Boston to praise God and make declarations over the city.

We also divided into groups and shared about how God was working among our various communities. Here are some insights that Christians from all over the city shared:

Somerville/ Watertown/ Greater Boston Area

Praise: Unity across various Christian congregations and many new church plants
Prayer: Due to the transient nature of this part of Boston, strong church leadership and discipleship is needed to help Christianity to continue flourishing here
Dream: We dream that the gospel would have an irresistible influence in the community

Cambridge/ Allston

Praise: In the various outreaches that have been done, there is more openness and receptivity to God
Prayer: Pride and self-righteousness is a stronghold; pray that God would bring us to our knees and show people how much they need God
Dream: We dream that every resident in Cambridge would know the true extravagent love of God

Somerville

Praise: We praise God for new life in Somerville including the YWAM base and many new church plants
Prayer: Pray that the people who have been jaded and hurt by Christians would encounter God’s love
Dream: We dream with God that the Christian church in Boston would be reknown all over the world

Everett/ Revere/ East Boston/ Chelsea

Praise: This group was united in same vision to work with people who are improvised
Prayer/ Dream: Pray that all churches would gather together under one purpose

Brookline

Praise: God is saving many Hindus in Brookline!
Prayer: Pray that God would continue to work within the Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, and young adult populations.
Dream: We dream that everyone would respect the various streams of Christianity in the city and we would all come under the banner of Jesus

South End

Praise: Many churches in the South End are very active in the community (Starlight, Lion of Judah, more) and there are many new church plants!
Prayer/ Dream: In the South End, there is a large divide between the rich and the poor and tension between people of various socioeconomic backgrounds. Pray for peace and the fullness of God’s shalom.

Jamaica Plain/ Mattapan/ Back Bay

Praise: Crime rates lower than in the past
Prayer: Pray that everyone in the city would have a Christian friend
Dream: We dream that everyone would be able to do the work God created them to do and that this would strengthen and encourage the city

South Shore/ Quincy/ Plymouth/ Randolph

Praise: There is a tremendous movement of new people groups coming to this part of the city, including Brazilians, Haitians, and South Asians
Prayer: As God weaves new fabric, we pray that something new would arise from the old and that God’s movement would become visible
Dream: We dream that the people of God would learn to live with unquenchable expectation that they are part of God’s unstoppable movement. We also pray that the staff, systems and support needed for the South Shore dream is provided.

It’s when we come together that we begin to see how God is working corporately. Truly, God is up to great things in Boston!

What else is God doing in your midst? How else can we be praying for your community?

God’s Grand Masterpiece: Can you hear it?

Note: This is a devotional that I wrote for the 10 Days Devotional 2014. 10 days is an opportunity to set apart a season of seeking God together as the wider of body of Christ, in such a way that moves us beyond the walls of our own local churches, denominations, and ethnic groups.

10 Days starts this Wednesday in over twenty cities throughout the nation! Learn more about the 10 Days nationwide movement here, and 10 Days Boston here.

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Day 1: God’s Grand Masterpiece

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Ephesians 4:16)

We all affirm Christian unity – but sometimes it’s difficult to imagine exactly what it is.

In my time of prayer the other day, Jesus showed me that the body of Christ is like God’s grand orchestra performing a symphony. In fact, our English word “symphony” comes from a Greek word meaning a “sounding together.”

In a good orchestra, as in the body of Christ, the uniqueness of each individual is celebrated. The booming low instruments coalesce with the twittering high instruments in a sort of a divine dance. Any good musician will tell you that in playing music together, the attitude of humility and honoring others above yourself is crucial. If any one group feels that they are the most important, the others get drowned out, and the melody is destroyed.

In a symphony, it is also vital that each person keeps his/her eyes on the conductor. Only the conductor sees it all and is able to direct each group to their proper place and in the right timing. If an individual were not to heed the direction of the conductor, this would have rebounding effects to every other musician, as well as the symphony as a whole.

When you listen to a symphony, distinct instrumental parts dwell within the others, becoming something far greater together than they are as individuals. The love of music that binds these musicians together is greater than any external differences that seemingly separate them. As they play together, they learn and grow as one, sounding forth a harmony that is both indescribable and wondrously beautiful.

At each of your 10 Days gatherings this year, seek to find the underlying tune, the sweet resonance of the harmony of Jesus within your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Listen for the sound of unity, of followers of Jesus coming together all around the nation and world to take part in God’s grand masterpiece. Can you hear it?

It’s Labor Day! Get out and Play

Highlights from this month:
Gearing up for 10 Days Boston! September 24 to October 4
Journey Church Free Community Car Wash
Labor Day was initiated in 1882 to create a holiday for workers. That means that Labor Day is a day for play! (hey, that rhymes!)

What are you doing on Labor Day?

This past month, I’ve incorporated a practice of asking myself every morning, “How are you doing?” and “What do you need?” and then inviting God into that conversation. It’s hard  to explain how this simple time of reflection has literally transformed my life, as I tend to be terrible at taking care of myself.

Gottfried Benn said that, “Whoever wants to understand much must play much” and I’ve begun to understand that one of my greatest needs in life is to play with friends.

This past month, I’ve swam in a waterfall waterside, completed the ice bucket challenge, and even floated in the midst of the sparkly bioluminescence in the ocean. At right, my friend Sarah and I with crazy seaweed hair during a ministry picnic.

Play gives me a fresh perspective on life and fills me with joy. In turn, I find that I’m more productive at work and overall a whole lot happier.

What about you? Are you good at taking care of yourself and tuning into what you need? I want to challenge you to incorporate this practice into your daily devotion time, so you can better take care of yourself and allow the fullness of who God made you to be to shine!

Read more about this in my sermon: Where the Spirit Dwells

UniteBoston Updates:

  • God is Uniting Boston with a Nationwide Prayer MovementWe are in the midst of a 40-day season of fasting and prayer leading up to October 4th.
  • It’s been so cool to see how God is bringing together the Christian Community in Boston – Check out 10daysboston.com to see the full line-up of geographical gatherings, ethnic groups, and denominational streams involved and watch the Youtube Video Update at right! If you don’t live near Boston, check out 10days.net for the 20+ locations throughout the nation taking part in these ten days of worship, fasting, and prayer
  • We had our first official UniteBoston Board meeting –  It is really great to have others oversee the mission of UniteBoston and the work we are doing in the city.

Journey Church Updates

  • Journey Church is preparing for our public launch on September 28! We are excited about this opportunity to welcome people home to Jesus and to the family of God. This week, our advertisements on the subway went up, and next week we will have a missions team from New York come to join us! Watch our Launch Video here
  • I organized a free car wash for the Cambridge community a few weeks ago, and we had an amazing response. We washed nineteen cars and had some amazing conversations with families in the area!

Prayer Requests and Praises!

  • Praise! I’m so thankful for how the Lord has rejuvenated me in this season and for the amazing friends He has placed in my life (yes, that’s you!)
  • Prayer! I’m beginning seminary this fall at Gordon Conwell’s Boston campus. I’m really excited about this opportunity to further my theological training and effectiveness as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As such, my monthly expenses have increased. Let me know if the Lord is stirring you to be a part of the team of people that is sowing into all that He is doing through UniteBoston and Journey Church.  Together we can change the world!
  • Prayer! Finalizing all the logistical details for 10 Days Boston can be stressful – pray that I would find peace amidst all the moving pieces.
Ecclesiastes 3:13 says “It is a gift from God to be able to eat and drink and experience the good that comes from every kind of hard work.”

As important as it is for us to labor and work hard, it is to play. So get off your computer and go have some fun :)

Kelly

Sermon: Where the Spirit Dwells

Many times every day we get asked the question, “How are you?” 

But have you ever stopped to think – How are you doing, really?

Sometimes we plow through life, without really taking time to stop and think and reflect on how we are doing and what we are doing to take care of ourselves.

I preached a sermon last week entitled, “Where the Spirit Dwells.” One of the most important gifts that God has given us is the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. The Holy Spirit’s role is to guide us and to teach us and lead us through life; we must be intentional about protecting this so that God can fully glorify Himself through us. 

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

God’s spirit dwells within us to the degree that we take care of ourselves and clear our schedules to live out only the call that He has for us. We must have good boundaries and be able to say no when we need to in order for us to better reflect His light and His love to the world. God can’t use us at all if we’re burned out, tired and miserable all the time – and if you feel like this, it might be time to really evaluate everything that’s on your plate.

What changes in your life do you need to make to allow His spirit to dwell more fully within you? Do you take time to engage in activities that bring you life? The better your boundaries of self-definition and self-awareness are, the better able you will be to offer empathy and love to others.

One practice that I’ve started to incorporate in my daily devotional time these past few weeks has been to ask myself, “How am I doing?” and “What do I need?”

After this, I ask God, “How am I doing in living out your call on my life?” and “What do I need most at this time?”

This practice has truly been transformative for me. I’ve realized that I need to prioritize fun and play in my life, and invite people to come along in these times. In turn, I find that I’m more productive at work and overall a whole lot happier.

My friend Christ Otto says, “God wants you to do the thing you love, be the person you were made to be and walk in the reality of your you-ness. Your true self is the unique expression of the image of God in you.”

I want you to challenge you to do this daily, as a way of partnering with God so you can take care of yourself and allow the fullness of who He made you to be to shine!

You can download or listen to my full sermon here:

 http://jcboston.org/spirit-dwells/

 

God is Uniting Boston With A Nationwide Prayer Movement!

This morning in my time of prayer, I was struck by the words “At that time, people began to call on the name of the Lord” (Genesis 4:26).

I believe we are entering into a time where the Lord is inviting us to call on His name.

These past four months, a team has been forming to prepare and plan for 10 Days Boston, an opportunity to set apart a season of seeking God together as the wider of body of Christ, in such a way that moves us beyond the walls of our own local churches, denominations, and ethnic groups.

We have an exciting line-up of churches this year, including a diverse variety of geographical gatherings (Cambridge, Jamaica Plain, Fenway, Suburbs) ethnic groups (Indian, Korean) and denominational streams (Catholic, Orthodox, Taize, and Evangelical). God has grown the team that is preparing and planning for 10 Days immensely this past year; it’s truly been a joy to see this unfold.

This year’s 10 Days takes place from September 24 to October 4 – Mark your calendars and check out the full schedule here: www.10daysboston.com

Also, click here to watch an update video about 10 Days Boston:

But that’s not all we have to be excited about. God is uniting hearts on a national scale! We are in a season where God is stirring hearts all around the nation to the place of prayer. Jonathan Friz, founder of 10 Days, is calling it “Divine Convergence.”

The Call Berkeley, Portland’s “Seven” movement, and 40 Days of Hope are all scheduled to end on October 4th – the same ending day for the 10 days of prayer! What a delight to see how the Holy Spirit has coordinated our schedules!

Convergences like these point to the fact that God is at work and to emphasize the importance of the call and the timing. We believe that God is calling us to unite these movements and form a bridge from West Coast to East Coast – here are some ways as to how you can do that.

Please prayerfully consider:

1. Joining in a nation-wide, 40-day fast from August 26 to October 4th with the 40 Days of Hope

2. Attend one of the six times weekly prayer sets that are taking place at the Justice House of Prayer in Cambridge

3. Come out to the daytime prayer and evening gatherings during 10 Days Boston, beginning on September 24th and concluding at the Boston Night of Worship at Lion of Judah Church on October 4th

God is up to great things – It’s a pleasure and an honor to take part in His kingdom coming in Boston with you!

P.S. Special thanks to our friends at the Emmanuel Gospel Center for sponsoring this year’s 10 Days Boston!

 

Click on this link to watch a playlist of all the 10 Days Video Updates from 2014!

Unbearable Beauty

photo 1-12“I am roaring drunk with the lust of life and adventure and unbearable beauty.” – Everett Ruess

This month I’ve been totally wowed by the incredible world around us. Above is just one moment of the adventure – jumping off of a sandy beach in the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

From the intricacy of tiny white flower petals to the expanse of a massive canyon, every iota of our world speaks of passion, love, and beauty. The great outdoors have a way of making you seem small and insignificant, and giving you a fresh perspective.

But the existence of this unbearable beauty everywhere begs an explanation.

Ann Voskamp asks simply “How can we behold loveliness – and say that this world looks like this if there were no God?”

Truly, through everything God has made, His eternal power and divine nature become visible – so that we have no excuse for not believing (Romans 1:20).
This month has been a month of healing and refreshment – I got dirty with my sister in the Flagstaff Mud Run and guided youth rafting down the San Juan River. I also had the opportunity to spend wonderful moments with my extended family at a gathering to celebrate my Papa’s life, and my Granny from Colorado flew in to visit – these are memories that I truly cherish. I also preached a sermon on how God’s power to heal points us to the wonder of God.

As I leave tomorrow to return to Boston, you can join me in thanking God for the restoration He has done in my heart and soul these past few weeks. I am filled with excitement and anticipation for what God will do this fall – The launch of Journey Church on September 28th, and 10 Days Boston from September 24th to October 4th!

Spending time in nature attunes me to the age-old rhythms of time, of wind and water – God is so big! Yet that He concerns himself with the ins and outs of our day-to-day lives continually astounds me.

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:3)

In His abundant, unbearably beautiful love,

Kelly