We are so very excited to announce that our four new additions - Jalynn, Josie, Bryan and Elly - are now officially SHACKELFORDS!! We are so blessed to permanently add the four beautiful children to our family. Thank you for your prayers during this almost 2 year process!
I just arrived in Rwanda last night and I am staying in a Catholic hostel run by Rwandan nuns. Due to jet lag waking me up early, I was able to enjoy the cool morning Breeze and the Beautiful Morning worship have the voices of nuns and the beat of drums. If you get a chance, turn the volume up on this video I took with my phone.
Because of the amount of preparation, planning and resources that will have to be gathered before there is a “product” to show, it is important for those involved with Lumenations, to understand that this is not just media production. There is a crucial life-changing ministry that will be happening even as stories are gathered and training resources are developed. Through our time of networking with groups and traveling around the world, the light and love of Christ will be shared. We will encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ who live in difficult circumstances and engage with the global body of Christ in many different positive ways. Here is a list of different groups that Lumenations will be engaging with and the service we hope to give even as we receive their amazing God-stories.
- KINGDOM WORKERS AROUND THE GLOBE: A primary focus of our ministry will be for believers around the globe who are laboring to advance the Kingdom of God. Our resources will eventually be available to as many people, cultures and languages as possible - not just for other ethnic groups to “receive” what is produced but for them to help in the production of it. This will be a truly global project. We will minister to the missionaries and their families and tell their stories as well. We will connect with the “story-makers”, the local indigenous leaders who God is using to do amazing Kingdom work. We will seek ways to not only tell their story but to encourage them as we do. When the media footage is gathered from these places, it will be used for far more than our own training resources. We will make it a priority to find ways to bless their ministry first and foremost. The footage will be used in every way possible to help those on the field: training, evangelism, frontier mobilization, encouragement and fund raising.
- LOCAL CHURCHES: We will work with churches here in the states and around the globe. We hope to help them be better “sending churches” - more closely connected to missions and the missionaries they support. Training opportunities will be offered even before our resources are completed. Short-term mission trip opportunities will be offered as well. For example, if we hear of some great God-stories happening somewhere in the world, we will try to get the church or churches who support that work better connected to it. Coordination of a “story gathering trip” might be arranged with them or with our team possibly joining them on a trip they already have planned. If the church is large enough to have a media team, we may train them to do the “story gathering” for us. When the trip is done and the footage is in hand, the media can be developed specifically for the church to encourage their members, inform them of the mission they're supporting, and help raise awareness of what their missionaries are doing. Our networking with churches will also give their members the opportunity to join Lumenations in whatever way they might feel called. (see the Professionals group below)
- CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITIES AND CAMPUS MINISTRIES: There will be a variety of ways to engage with university students. Opportunities for short-term mission trips will be offered as well as internship opportunities. For example, we would love to work with various departments at Christian universities to design internships for Bible majors, graphic design majors, media production majors, computer science majors and many more. This would be mutually beneficial, offering us an inexpensive and enthusiastic work force while also helping the student see how their giftings and passions can be used for exciting and strategic Kingdom mission! The specific work that they are involved in and the media and training resources that comes out of that can also be used by the universities for their own promotional and training needs. For the intern, it can be a great start to their portfolio.
- MISSION AGENCIES AND GLOBALLY FOCUSED PARA-CHURCH ORGANIZATIONS: Our desire is to connect and network with as many Kingdom-minded global organizations as possible. We especially want to work with those focused on reaching the unengaged and unreached peoples of the world and to do that through disciple-making and church-planting movements. These groups will typically be connected to great stories around the world that can benefit our needs and they (and their missionaries) can benefit from our media and training. Beyond that, we will do our best to minister to them - their leaders, their staff and their global workers. These are people who pour themselves out for global Kingdom work and it will be a blessing to pour into them and encourage them.
- PROFESSIONALS: Our mission is help people engage with their co-mission with Jesus, no matter what their profession is. We hope to develop a network that will include professionals who can offer various levels of volunteer service - something yearly, monthly or to just be “on call”. There will be specific professions that we can especially benefit from partnering with. It is our prayer that they will benefit from “catching the vision” and put their giftings to great use for a global ministry that will have a positive impact on the Kingdom of God. Here is a list of groups I foresee us specifically seeking to connect with and work with:
- Creative Professionals:
- Media Production Pros
- Illustrators, Animation Specialists
- Graphic Design Pros
- Writers, Scriptwriters
- Sound Engineers and Recording Artists, Musicians
- Tech Industry Professionals:
- Web Developers
- App Developers
- I.T. Pros
- Finance / Business / Administration
- MINISTRY TO OUR TEAM: In time we hope to grow a team who call Lumenations home. The team will most likely be spread out around the globe. Caring for our team physically, emotionally and spiritually will be a high priority and a significant ministry as well.
I'm super excited to visit our dear friends and family in Christ in California. I will be speaking the next two Sundays at the two churches I was blessed to work with in the the 90s: Ham Lane Church of Christ in Lodi, CA on Sunday, April 29 and Walnut Creek Church of Christ in Walnut Creek, CA on Sunday, May 6. For those of you who are still around that area, I would love to see you! ~ Ken
I took thousands of pictures during my time in Albania. I believe this is my favorite. It captures what our time was all about - the joy of relationships when Jesus is in the mix. I am preparing to teach Perspectives Lesson 11 in Columbia, MO this weekend, "Building Bridges of Love." When I was a minister at New Heights Church, we used to say "Truth travels best on the road of realtionships." In Albania, we would say we build bridges of trust that can bear the burden of truth. It all boils down to this, the good news of Jesus is about relationship - relationship with Him, relationships with each other. I like what New Heights' web-site now says: Love God passionately, love people tangibly.
Foundation building is the focus of our first year at Lumenations. It is not a glorious thing nor is it celebrated like the placing of the capstone is. It is the nitty-gritty and often unseen work and yet, it is so very crucial to anything we hope to accomplish in this "building".
I sketched out a picture that has been in my mind for a while as I have prayed about what God's wants Lumenations to be "built upon". I will share in more depth each aspect of this drawing throughout the year but here are the elements of it:
First and Foremost: JESUS CHRIST IS THE CORNERSTONE (duh!)
Level 1 - Along with Jesus and through the power of His Spirit, what I hope everything else in Lumenations is built upon.
- The VISION God has given us for Lumenations: to use His Story (which includes our stories in Him) to train disciples to make disciples among all nations. See the video presentation on our home page: www.lumenations.org
- PRAYER, which allows us to stay connected to that vision. See the "prayer movement" section of this update for more about this.
Level 2 - Jesus chose to use a "TEAM" to accomplish His mission and we will do the same.
- SUPPORT Team (specifically, the financial support team - that's you! - you can be part of other teams as well. In fact, I hope you will be)
- RESOURCE Team (similar to the support team - those who offer other aspects of their treasure: time, expertise, experience, etc.)
- TRAINING Team (those who have "been there, done that" in terms of making disciples who make disciples)
- MOBILIZER Team (these are the networkers, those who mobilize others to join in the mission of Lumenations)
FIRST THINGS FIRST - the CORNERSTONE:
This is, of course, a no-brainer - but what does having Jesus as the cornerstone of a globally focused organization look like? Practically speaking, we simply look to Jesus and how he modeled His mission. He always had the "Kingdom of God" on his lips. He stressed simple obedience to the Father's will. He looked at the heart, not superficial externals. He prayed for His people to be one. He trusted in the power of the Spirit of God. He built teams, equipped them and sent them out.
In all of these things and more, we will strive to do follow Jesus' example.
You, dear friends and fellow Jesus-followers, are a part of this strong foundation and, for that, I am thankful!
FROM KEN: Every time Tanja and I think about the BIG moves of God in our life and ministry, we are reminded of the great amount of prayer that preceded those "movements". We know, without a doubt, that the mission and vision of Lumenations will become a reality ONLY when there is a firm foundation of prayer. We need prayer warriors like you lifting up this ministry, our family, and our global team.
We want to begin Lumenations with a prayer movement and we want to invite you to be a part of it. Would you consider being an active member of our prayer team? It's easy, just click on the link below (or the pic above) and fill out the form and you'll begin receiving weekly prayer updates. This will be interactive, we want to pray for you too!
I'm teaching lesson four in the Perspectives course tomorrow and I wanted a time to reflect on these quotes by servants of God who have taken the Great Commission to heart. Enjoy.
NOTE FROM KEN: This past month was a whirlwind of activity. We put our house up for sale and prayed that the first people who came to see it would make an offer for the asking price. They did! We hope to close on it this month. We packed up our belongings and made the move to Arkansas. We have been blessed to have temporary missionary housing while we look for something more permanent. The kids are loving time with cousins and the many new friends they have made here already.
We have a Lumenations office already! My brother-in-law, J.P. Wornock, has graciously given me use of his office at the Searcy Primecare clinic. This allowed me to get up and running quickly, getting the financial structures in place for budgeting, donations, etc. I'll be spending much of this month, February, traveling and speaking in Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas.
Thank you for your prayers and thanks for being a part of this story!
"I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light." - John Keith Falconer
Ken and friends have been working hard the past few weeks to get Lumenations up and running as an official non-profit organization. We are excited to announce that we are now ready to receive donations, including the support from those of you who have partnered with the Shackelford family.
NOTE FROM KEN:
Many of you have continued to partner with our family and our global ministry. If so, thank you so much! We pray that you will stick with us in this transition and join this new exciting vision that focuses on mission, ministry, mobilization and media.
For the rest of you, would you prayerfully consider joining with our family in a powerful global mission? All donations are tax deductible.
For information on how to give, click the picture above. For more information about the vision for Lumenations, go here: www.lumenations.org.
What is the difference between “acting right” and “being obedient”? In our prayer time this morning, my wife and I were convicted that we needed to switch modes - to change our “act right” into “be obedient”.
Too often we act rightly. This is an action - doing the right thing. It is, by it’s nature, not inherently wrong. But if “acting right” becomes our modus operandi, it will ultimately fail. We don’t have it within us to do righteousness. Instead, we should strive to be obedient. To be obedient is to focus on the One we are being obedient to. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey all that I have commanded.” [Jn 14:15] To be obedient is to love God. He also said, "apart from me, you can do nothing." [Jn 15:5] You can bear no fruit of obedience without being connected to Jesus (a.k.a. abiding).
I so easily fall into the trap of going through my days working hard to do the right things. Are you like me? Our busy culture entangles us in a web of harried activities. Satan loves for Jesus-followers to get so busy doing “good things” that they forget to rest in simple obedience to Christ. When I read the gospels, I never get the sense that Jesus was busy, or harried, or behind schedule. With all that he needed to accomplish - you know, saving the world - He still spent massive amounts of time in Sabbath rest and prayerfulness! This allowed Him to hear God and then take that next step of obedience, no more and no less. So what did Jesus do? “I do nothing but what the Father tells me to do.”
Can we live this way? Can we be obedient? Only if that being is in Him. Being in His Word. Being prayerful. Being still and knowing He is God. I feel Jesus saying, “Come to me, all you who are weary of acting right and burdened by busy-ness, and I will give you rest.” The yoke of acting right is heavy but being obedient is light and feels more like love than law.
photo taken by Ken Shackelford, 2017 on Table Mountain in Cape Town, S. Africa
As we continue to get Lumenations up and running, I have been thinking about the phrase in the Bible "Do not despise small beginnings..." It had been a while since I've read that scripture so I had to look it up. The prophet Zechariah uttered these words in a vision he had about the rebuilding of the Temple by Zerubbabel. This was after God's people returned from their Babylonian exile. The foundation had been laid but there were powerful forces lined up against the completion of the temple itself. There was much discouragement among the people as this dream of a temple seemed more like a pipe dream - way too big for it to be accomplished.
Do not despise
...these small beginnings.
God says in Zechariah 4:10 "Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin..." [NLT] God made it clear earlier in the same chapter that there was only one way they could hope to accomplish this great task: "not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit"! [Zech. 4:6b-NKJV]
King David, who laid the groundwork for the first great Temple of God, showed the contrast between those working in their own strength and those operating in faith when he proclaimed that "some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God." [Psalm 20:8-NIV]
How much faith do we need? That can also be small and still be powerful and effective. "Truly I tell you," Jesus said, "if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move." He then utters six incredible words, "Nothing will be impossible for you." [Matthew 17:20-NIV]
The vision God has given me for Lumenations is big - so big that I kept it at arm's length for almost 20 years. God continued to grow and refine the vision throughout those years, building that foundation, making it ready for work to begin. We have begun this knowing it is too big for us but we believe God is saying, "It is NOT too big for Me." We know this is a step of faith and pray that, together, our faith is at least the size of that oft-mentioned mustard seed. We know it will not be accomplished by our power or our might so we will trust in God's Spirit to guide us and strengthen us.
Please pray for these small beginnings!
- Ken S.
Salvador Cariaga, from the Lapalapu City, Cebu, Philippines, shares about the "conversation piece that leads to the Prince of Peace". I didn't have a decent microphone with me so the sound isn't great but I wanted to capture a creative way to share The Story.