Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Remembering The Impact

I was asked to write a few words about a college retreat that I attended as a leader when I was in college. The reason I am posting what I wrote is because just writing it impacted me and there are some of you who I think would like to hear about how God moved and impacted a group of College students. Here is what I wrote:

When I look back at the spiritual growth in my life, which basically went into action when I was in college, that winter retreat is by far the most memorable and impacting of all spiritual growth events in my life, except for the day I chose to follow Christ for the rest of my life.

I have a poor memory, but few things stand clear in my mind that I will never forget. I remember Katie Christianson so touched by the power of God that she left that retreat a different person entirely. I got to minister with here on the Track team at Fresno State and see the response from our teammates when they saw Katie’s transformation. I remember Katie Wilkinson, now Pope, giving up a trip around Europe for the summer with a clear call from the Lord that she needed to go to El Salvador that summer on the short term mission trip. In hindsight, that trip to El Salvador impacted her even more, as well as introduced her to Nick Pope, her future husband. I remember 40 of us waking up at 6:45 to be at the prayer meeting at 7 the first morning we were there – I expected 5 of us to be there. I remember the next morning waking up at 5:45 to be at the prayer meeting at 6. Josh and Paul showed up late to see the same 40 + people waiting for them. I almost felt led to start with out them. Thank goodness they showed up. J Those two prayer meetings set in motion the Holy Spirits transformation of the College group. We increased in size, depth, and hunger for the Lord like I have never seen in ministry before. It was the closest thing to a Spirit led revival that I have ever seen, if it wasn’t actually one.

This event was a movement of the Spirit – it was not Paul’s Idea or Joshes plan. It was God’s plan to transform the lives of several college students that spread to an entire church. I don’t believe it is something that can be recreated by our own effort, discipline and determination but only by our humble submission to God through humble Spirit led prayer. I have begged God to allow me to be a part of a revival like that again, to have a hunger for the word and for prayer as I did that year. In a way, that year has set the highest standard for my spiritual barometer.

I wish I could be with the college group at this retreat, I know that God will move his hand in many ways and is willing to touch every person that goes on this retreat. I truly believe this, but I challenge every person going, if God is ready to move, are you ready and willing to humbly submit and be moved by Him.

Phil Ogilvie.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Your Ministry to the CHURCH

I’ve gone through a few areas of doing Christianity in the past few post. First, we are all uniquely created to do Christianity, it is not only a self focused faith and last post, I mentioned that we are called to minister at HOME. (click here for parts 1-3)

Today I want to talk about another calling that we all have as Christ followers. I believe that we must do Christianity at Church. If you are going to church on Sundays and you are only sitting in the pew or chair you really are missing the point. Church wasn’t created just so that you can learn from someone else. Your Church is a place where you can connect in fellowship with other believers, learn from other believers, teach other believers, and serve other believers – give of yourself for to bless others. It is a place where you are supposed to use your unique gifts that God gave you for the betterment of the Church body. What are you good at? How can you use that to build up the church that you attend? We all know churches that have “Sunday Sitters” – People that have a Sunday self-focused faith. (Isn’t that called religion?) More than ever, we need Christ followers making an impact in their Church – serving in the youth group, children’s department, cleaning tables and bathrooms, and for the people who have it, Givers who can drop more cash than the tithe to help fund the ministry. Where do you fit in the ministry of the Church. Why did God bring you to the church that you are sitting in – it’s not just to listen to a speaker and music. You will experience God far more when serving, giving, and ministering with joy at your church.

My Point: God has placed you in your church to serve and minister – how are you using the unique gifts God gave you to bless the church you attend?

I want to give a quick applaud to all those who went to Mexico from Clarksburg Community Church for the Short Term Missions trip. I am sure you received far more than you were able to give – that’s how it usually works. Good job to those of you who planned and prepared it – I’m sure you didn’t make Dennis do all the work.

I would love to hear some personal reports of your trip for those of you who went.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Doing Christianity - Part 3

You're the minister - at HOME

I have been posting a series of thoughts about Doing Christianity. In Part 1, I wrote that if you consider yourself a Christ follower, that we must make an impact on the world around us, not just on ourselves (don’t turn your faith into a self-help Christianity). In Part 2, my point was that we are all uniquely created to be a part of Gods plan to impact the world. I finished the post with the question, “What are you supposed to be doing to fulfill the purpose that God created you for?”

Today, I want to talk about the first place we are called to make an impact. As Christ followers, I believe we are all ministers, starting with our HOME. What if you started looking at your home, family (yes, the in-laws count as family) and neighbors as a ministry field? When I talk about doing Christianity in this realm, I am not saying that you increase the length of your dinner prayers at Christmas, or preaching fire and brimstone over thanksgiving turkey. What I am saying is that I think we should be living your life with a view that HOME is a mission field and the way we handle those relationships will or will not glorify God. God has a serious plan and purpose for us in the realm of Home. Are we fulfilling that purpose?

My Point: God created us specifically to be ministers and impact the world around us. The first place we are ministers is at HOME.
For wiser words from wiser people check out these links:
Irish Calvinist on Husbands
Mark Batterson on Fathers

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Help me Fly

Does anyone know a good online flight finder or even a good travel agent? Please let me know. Thank you

Cool Complement

I sent out our weekly "CR Update" a few days ago. One of my donors and good friend emailed me back. She gave me a cool complement and made me laugh so I thought I would post part of her message. She said...

...Just remember we are all here praying for you and excited about what you are doing down there. Keep on keeping on. And thanks again for sharing. It is so nice to hear a missionary keeping it real. I mean, most of the prayer letters I get from missionaries are all nicey-nicey. It is good to hear that someone is honest for once!! :) Missionaries have bad feelings just like the rest of us. Thanks for admitting it. I, for one, greatly appreciate it!!

For our honest and not so "nicey-nicey" email updates and prayer lists email me. :)

Monkey Business

I woke up this morning at about 4:30 to a pack of howler monkeys outside my bedroom window. As their name implies, they were doing their best to make sure I was awake. I got up started the coffee and sat down to do a little bible reading, following the Discipleship Journal Reading Plan (my favorite) and came up on a passage of scripture that is important to me. It’s about our traditions. Read the full text of Matt. 15:1-9 to get more info but here are the details.

The Pharisees and teachers of the law go to Jesus and ask “Why do your disciples break our fathers traditions and not wash their hands before they eat?” Jesus gives them a scenario to show their own hypocrisy and braking of commands as well and then implicates them in scripture by quoting Isaiah 29:13 , saying

“These people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.”

Questions: Are we teaching rules taught by men? Is our worship coming from the heart or from our lips?

POINT: We can not be “Relevant Traditionalists” but must be “Relevant Missionalist” (I think I made up some words). In ministry, we can not let “what worked in the past” or “what we’ve been doing for generations” keep us from “what needs to be done” to reach the people that need a relationship with God the most now. Whether it’s Hymns, Robed Pastors, Sermon length, etc, these cannot get in the way of people coming to the Lord for help. Being a relevant missionalist is putting cultural relevance before personal traditions as priority.

Now before you think I am a Traditions Hater, (because I am not, they just need to be put in their right place on the list of priorities) take a look at the beginning of the text again. In verse 2, the Pharisees are not accusing Jesus, just his disciples. I think Jesus followed the tradition of ceremonially washing hands. Why? Because Jesus didn’t want to cause people to stumble at that point. Their could be other reasons as well. Sometimes we have to do things, not because we believe them but because others believe them. (See also Rom. 14:20, 1 Cor. 10:32)

Monday, February 12, 2007

I Paid off the Police

I am embarrassed to admit it but I bought my way out of a traffic ticket yesterday. Actually I was forced to do it. I was stopped by "Transito" (a mandatory police stop) and the officer (If i can call him that) got me out of the car, wanted to see all my documents - which
I had in order, and he made up some bogus charge that my insurance paperwork said "2006" on it. That is when the document was created and it clearly said that I was insured through March! He said it was wrong because it didn't have 2007 on it. I showed him that but he didn't care, I was a white American with $$ sign on my forehead. He kept saying, "what are we going to do about this?" I kept trying to wait him out but finally he had to ask me how much I would pay him not to write a ticket. With my classic Ogilvie tongue, i disrespectfully gave him all the money I had - 4000 colones which is a little less than $8.

I would rather pay the a real traffic fine in the US for $80 than pay $8 like that. It burned me for a while. I am glad I didn't have more money in my wallet.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Doing Christianity- Part 2

Uniquely Created - Part of Gods Plan

I am sharing some thoughts that seem a little basic but I feel I need to share them. Last entry I talked about a self focused faith that seems to be cultivated instead of an outward focus – serving others and impacting the people around us. Come on, am I the only one here that struggles with this? I have to remind myself often – I am here for a reason bigger than my own comfortable “Self Help” Christianity.

The next point I want to make quickly is that once we realize the call that God has put on all out lives, we realize that the mission field is all around us and God created US to impact that mission field. Wow, are you humbled by that? Really, God uses us – we are messed up people, but God uses us. That amazes me. Moving on… Add this to the craziness. God didn’t just choose to use us – despite our messed up state – but before we existed, He created us to be a part of His plan, to be used by us! Keep tracking with me, we realize that God created us uniquely to implement his plan where He places us. What does that mean? God created some people to specifically live in the suburbs and Do Christianity there. God created some others to live in a small town, on a specific street, or working with a specific person, as part of his plan. Still others, he creates to be specifically in ministry. Really, that is an exception to the fact that we are all created as ministers. With that in mind read Psalm 139. Remember that verse from there that says, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made…my frame was not hidden from you…” Read the whole psalm in its context (here) – it rocks.

So, my point: we are all created to be a part of Gods plan to impact the world – to Do Christianity, and we are created uniquely to fulfill that purpose.

What are you supposed to be doing and how where you uniquely created to minister there?

I found a recent post on on this topic, check it out.

Friday, February 09, 2007


I want to start a series of posts that will pertain to something I have been thinking about for a while now. Maybe I will jump in with the big dogs and write a book someday – maybe not. For some readers these posts will be something you’ve heard before and honestly don't need to hear it, for others, it will be something that needs to be heard and applied, and for those of you who are just like me, I need to remind myself evey day about it. A lot of these thoughts have been encouraged/inspired by a few books and blogs I have been reading, namely CHAZOWN by Craig Groeschel and Maximum Impact Short Term Mission by Peterson, Aeschliman and Sneed.

I want to start a discussion about “Doing Christianity.” I know a lot of people are, but seriously, I think we get into those forgetfull slumps, at least I do. My frustration is that often we start looking at Christianity similar to a “self-help” book. We try to look for ways to improve ourselves, and ourselves only. Hear me on this, we must keep improving, investing, and growing spiritually but as we mature, (especially so) we must show fruit of our faith in God, by impacting the lives of others. I think often we look at our increased discipline or integrity and say, “here is the fruit of my faith.” Yes, that is fruit, but not the fruit that defines the impact you are making on the world God has placed you in. The fruit I am talking about is that which, because of your increased discipline, people at work ask you why you don’t cut corners like everyone else. Or students in class wonder why you won’t let them look at your answers during a test. This is the kind of fruit where, because of the personal fruitfullness that God has graced you in your life, you allow room for the Holy Spirit to provide avenues for you to share your faith. “Christ following” must impact the world around you. God created us to be a part f His plan to save the world. How do you fitting in that plan? This is a question I have to ask myself over and over, If I don't, I may start falling into the "self help" book christianity.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

BOOK REPORT: Maximum Impact Short-Term Mission

Title: Maximum Impact Short-Term Missions
Authors: Peterson, Aeschliman & Sneed
Categories: Missions

I was given this book by a fellow Alternative Mission's staff member and it has helped me put in words some core beliefs that I have had about mission's and added to them as well. This is not a book for everyone to read, thus I almost didn't put it on the blog, but... I decided to because there are a few points that I want to highlight.

First: As Christ Followers we are called/mandated (i believe - created to) increase the kingdom. We are the salt of the earth, the light to the world and the hands and feet of God. We have this ability namely through our relationship with Christ. It is not something we necessarily have to study for several years and then we are real missionaries. Jesus trained his disciples by having them tag along in what he was doing, they learned by experience. I believe we all must take part in the great commission, and more specifically, missions.

Second: This book gives a lot of details and brakes things down - almost too much but one thing I like is what they call the Participant Trilogy. That is, there are Senders that help to send out people that go. There are Goer-Guests, the people that go and are guest at a ministry location. and finally the Host Receivers, the people receiving the goers and facilitating at the ministry location. The challenge that this book puts forth and that I uphold is this: As Christ Followers, we must place ourselves in at least one of these three ministering vessels (sender/goer/receiver) and i believe God has created us to fit in one of these areas. Which one do you fit in?

Third: I semi-mentioned this, but God calls everyone to get involved. This book highlights the amazing blessing that we as obedient followers receive. Just think of them yourself, you don't need the book to tell you that God is going to bless you more than you can imagine. Also, This book highlights so many Old Testament and New Testament accounts of Short Term Missions, it seems that it has always been a part of God's plan. Yet, somehow, we have turned short term missions into the second rate - not the real thing- mission trip. (Examples, read the stories of Paul, Barnabas, Philip, Steven, The Spies of Jericho, the several accounts of David, Nehemiah and Jonah - all Short Term Missions.

If you are involved in Short Term Missions at all, especially if it is part of your job at a church or missions organization you will do well to read this book.