Watching the Kingdom Bobber -- Phil Tiews

Its summer and a lot of us will go fishing, or at least that is what we call it! Maybe it is just a good excuse to sit quietly and enjoy the sun and water – hoping we don’t actually catch anything that we will have to clean. Whether you are a serious fisher or a serious lounger, you have possibly fished with a float or bobber at some time, that little red and white ball you attach to your line which floats on the surface. When a fish strikes your bait the ball ‘bobs’ down, you know you have caught something and you go into action, pulling on your rod.

Recently I have been thinking about the prayer Jesus gave us – called the Lord’s Prayer, but really the disciples’ prayer. We are to ask the Father, ‘Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ I am sure this is not just a pious sentiment, but that the Father and Jesus want to see their Kingdom breaking in here and now. Eventually it will completely break in, but we are to pray for it with an expectation that we will see signs of it in the present.

In addition, I am sure that we are supposed to be prepared to be part of the answer to that prayer! God wants to work through us to bring His Kingdom and will to people and situations. A word of life, peace out of chaos, healing, deliverance, repentance, shaping enterprises and institutions according to His values, all the different works of the Kingdom. Our whole life is maybe best understood as being ambassadors of His Kingdom in the different spheres He has places us as parents, students, workers, neighbors and more. There is much to say on this at another time.

I am also sure that we are to be partners with the Lord in more immediate, instantaneous expressions of the Kingdom. Things like an inspiration to pray for someone in the middle of the day and you later find out they were facing a great temptation just then. Stopping to talk with a stranger which leads to praying for them. Giving money to someone because the Spirit prompts you.

This is where the bobber comes in. You could call it a Kingdom bobber. The idea is that as we go through our days, let’s keep an eye on that Kingdom bobber. Most of the time it is just going to sit there riding the current of the overall flow of life. But every once in a while it is going to bob down because the Lord and His Kingdom is breaking in at that moment and if we go into action, we will get to be partners in the Lord’s catch.

John Wimber used to speak of ‘seeing what the Father is doing’ and joining in. That is maybe a better and more biblical way of describing the same idea. However we describe it, let’s not go through out days with our head down, about our business, even our overall God-given business, without keeping at least a corner of an eye on the Kingdom bobber. When we see it bob down -- when the Spirit gives us that nudge, speaks to us, or draws our attention – take a moment and ‘strike’ and we will get to partner with the Lord causing His Kingdom to come and His will to be done here, now, and in someone’s life.

Dawn Service Night

Community Service Night

4:30 – 7 pm, Saturday: July 23

@ Dawn Farm — 6633 Stony Creek Rd., Ypsilanti, MI 48197

 Help with Dawn Farm’s new sustainable, long term garden vision

 OR Work in an air-conditioned ‘barn’ preparing mailings for Dawn Farm supporters

 Picnic Dinner with the extended community family & Dawn clients

Bring a dessert to share. Main dish, salad & beverage will be provided

 No child care provided—kids can help with the service


A great event to bring a friend to!

Community Life Nights -- 2011

Join us for this summer’s first Word of God  -

 Community Life Night


5:30 – 8 pm, Saturday: June 18

@ Westminster Presbyterian Church

1500 Scio Church Rd

Ann Arbor, MI 48103


What’s it all about?

þ Pot-luck Dinner with the extended community family

  • Bring a dessert or salad to share. 
  • Main dish & beverage will be provided

þ Program for youth of all ages        

þ Great groups & activities for adults & teens

  • C S Lewis,  The Great Divorce ~Part 1- Marsha Williamson
  • Visit and craft- Terri & Michelle Flanagan bring a craft or learn a new one.  We will also learn finger knitting, for children.
  • Line Dancing for all ages –
  • Digital Photography. ‘Hands-on’ guided practice ~bring a camera with charged battery & manual – Coral Lee & Kristen Johnson
  • Optional [based on interest] Soccer/ Basketball & Board game(s)


 þ A taste of community life in the rush of our week!

Body Life Evangelism – Bring a Friend!

Come and see.  The best way for folks to find out about Jesus and his people is to hang out with them.  It worked for the New Testament church.  It worked for the early community.  It works today!

Bring your friends, relatives, neighbors … even your enemies! and let them taste Kingdom life and a little potluck dinner for themselves.  If they try it, they’ll like it!

What's your Story? . . . What's your Word?

What’s your story? … What’s your word?  All of us have a story of how God has worked in our lives.  Christianity isn’t a set of principles that we assent to, but the story of how the personal God interacts with people – with us!  The Bible is really the extended story of God acting to save told through the stories of countless folks.  Abraham hears God call him to pull up stakes and follow.  He does and so begins a journey of discovery of God and establishment.  Joseph gets himself in deep trouble and God delivers him so that he can become a deliverer.  Generation after generation the stories go on of God revealing himself, showing steadfast love, and recuing people right up to the story of Jesus – and beyond to you and me today.   People aren’t interested in lists of rules and most don’t care for religious dogma, but they are almost universally attentive to stories.  And really this is what people need to know about God, that he wants to enter into their story!   This is why the Southeast Michigan outreach to give Everyone A Chance to Hear (EACH) is using the ‘2 Word Story’ as the central thrust.  Over 400 churches in the region are mobilizing their folks to share their stories with people around them and ask folks, ‘What’s your story?’  The hope is that we will be able to engage in a dialog with people where they can reflect on their lives and maybe start considering how God has already been at work or what his story could mean for them.   So, what is your story?  Has it been a while since you reflected on what God has done for you?  Take some time and prayerfully recollect – and do plenty of thanksgiving along the way!  Pray about how you could distill your story to a couple of minutes so that you could actually get it out in a normal conversation.  If people want to hear more, they can always ask!  Ask the Lord to show you a key issue he addressed as he broke into your story.  This is what we will be turning into our ‘2 word story’.

For Abraham it might be -- Called?    Called.        For Joseph it might be -- ‘Accepted?    Accepted.                For me it is --  Purpose?    Purpose.   What about you?  What is your story?  What is your word?

-- Phil Tiews

EACH -- Why

What is EACH and why would we want to get involved?

When I first heard about EACH, Everyone A Chance to Hear, I admit that I was skeptical. ‘Another over-hyped, evangelistic program that will blow over without much effect’. But the Spirit moved me to take a closer look. This was different and seemed to have the ‘aroma of life’ about it. What makes it different?

  • It didn’t start out as a grand scheme to impact the whole region, one church shared their vision for reaching their vicinity and the Spirit stirred dozens of others to join and expanded the vision
  • The most basic strategy is ‘incarnational evangelism’, equipping the people of God to share their story and hear their non-Christian friends stories, building a relational foundation.
  • EACH is not looking to become an ongoing institution. It is focused on saturating our region with the Good News in the 40 days after Easter. And then it is over!
  • However, a key aspect of EACH is the relationships being built between churches across denominational, racial, urban-suburban, and other divides. These will carry on beyond EACH and impact the destiny of our region.
  • There is a conviction that ‘good news’ must be combined with ‘good deeds’ and so multiple projects of service are being developed by individual churches, churches working in groups, and the overall EACH network.
  • Everything is being undergirded by prayer. What is needed is for God to break in, using His people, but exceeding anything that human effort could organize.


These are just some of the reasons I sense God at work in the EACH movement. As the Leadership Team has learned about it, we are excited about The Word of God playing a part along with other churches and ministries in Washtenaw County, and in partnership with churches across the region. Stay tuned for lots more information, but if you want to learn more now, you can go to

We want to put together a team of folks to lead our involvement with EACH, so if you would like to help, please contact Phil Tiews at 994-3243 or right away!

Advent – praying for the sword day

… the king sprang suddenly erect.  Tall and proud he seemed again; and rising in his stirrups he cried in a loud voice, more clear than any there had heard a mortal man achieve before:

Arise, arise Riders of Théoden! Fell deeds awake: fire and slaughter! Spear shall be shaken, shield be splintered, A sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises! Ride now, ride now!  Ride to Gondor!

Suddenly the king cried to Snowmane and the horse sprang away.  Behind him his banner blew in the wind, white horse upon a field of green, but he outpaced it.  After him thundered the knights of his house, but he was ever before them… For morning came, morning and a wind from the sea; and darkness was removed, and the hosts of Mordor wailed, and terror took them, and they fled, and died, and the hoofs of wrath rode over them.

This passage from J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy might seem out of place as we approach Christmas, but it has come back powerfully to me as I have been praying during Advent.  In Advent we are asking for the King to come, and the Bible makes it very clear that when He comes a second time it will be very different than His first coming:

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.  His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.  He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.  And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.  Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.  And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. 

Rev 19:11-16

Sounds a lot like the ride of Théoden!  That day will be ‘a sword day, a red day’ and the King of Kings will sweep His enemies before Him.  He will establish His Kingdom and there will be none to oppose Him.  I think this is why we love stories of rescuers arriving in the nick of time to set people free from the attack of evil.  It touches on the Great Story which God has put deep in our hearts, the Hope of the coming of the King to put all things right.

However, as we wait, King Jesus has taught to pray ‘Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven’.  That ‘sword day’ will not come fully and finally until Jesus returns, but right now, every day in small and large ways incrementally that day is to be pressed out in the world around us.  We are to ask for, expect, and participate in His Kingdom, His rule, His rescue to break in.  We are not to hunker underground and await His coming, but to pray and be part of His Kingdom coming daily until the day He comes to finish the job.

As I have prayed and thought on this, I realize that for me to live and believe this way, His Kingdom is going to have to come more in my life, too!  I have enemies of fear, of slavery to approval, of unbelief that need to be swept away for me to be a partner is seeing the Lord’s will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.   Freeing me to witness boldly, to pray for healing, to work for reconciliation, to address wrongdoing.  So this Advent I am praying for the Rider on the White Horse to sweep through my life and rout these enemies so that I can be part of the pressing out of His rule and will now – until the final ‘sword day’.

Fall Retreat Audio Available

The weekend of October 22-24 The Word of God held its annual Fall Retreat on the theme of ‘To give our lives to God, to follow His Son Jesus, and to live more and more in the Holy Spirit’. These phrases taken from our covenant embody the life God has called us to and it was refreshing to center on that call once again. Excellent talks were given by Mike Gladieux, Peter Williamson, Dave Mangan and Ralph Martin. You can listen to them at our Audio Archive .

Reflections on Vision: 2 Copper Coins, by Martha Balmer

I have become more and more conscious lately of my spiritual poverty. In his kindness, the Lord has been shining a light on the gulf between my intentions, standards and beliefs and my actual thoughts and actions. Inspirations conceived in my heart stay there, unborn, well past their due dates. Inward irritation and laziness blight simple acts of kindness before they bloom. Grudging thoughts mitigate services given without outward complaint. I’ve become acutely aware of my inner eye rolling when certain people come into view. When it’s time to pray, I don’t feel like it…

In short, my love is impoverished. My offering is poor.

Last Monday evening I was at the Community Office with a dozen others, praying and listening to the Lord, when the image of the poor widow and her two copper coins came to my mind. I felt the Lord nudging me to get up, go to the table at the back of the room where I’d set my purse, and get out two pennies.

I sat on it for a little while, but I can truthfully say that I’ve been working on bringing those inspirations into actual existence, and I shortly got up and got the pennies. I just grabbed the first two that I touched. It turned out one was Canadian. Even poorer.

That evening I was aware as always of the imperfection of my prayer and worship, how distracted and tired and even reluctant it is. But I looked at the pennies. I imagined myself putting them down on the floor in the middle of the room, and in my heart that’s what I did. Immediately I found it easier to pray and—most importantly—to let go of the imperfection of my prayer. It didn’t matter. Neither the strength, purity nor accuracy of it were any longer material to the task. I found I wasn’t being given the grace to give a better gift, only the grace to give it all.

I had always thought of the widow’s mite as a problem of quantity only. The wealthy were putting large amounts into the treasury, and she had only two coins. But this experience is pointing out to me that the problem of quality is part of the story as well. She only had copper to give, while the wealthy were undoubtedly donating silver and gold. I have never been too worried about the amount I have to give. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt any responsibility to produce something that I didn’t actually have. “The gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he has not.” But while I have accepted grace for this one kind of poverty, I have been denying it for another.

The Word of God Launches New Website

PicPhilTiewsFinally catching up some with the 21st century, The Word of God is launching a website so revised it is really new!  Our vision is to be more than a barebones source of information about the community.  We hope to provide resources people, both community members and others, will find helpful and encouraging as they seek to follow the Lord.  Check out the library for articles on a variety of subjects and testimonies of God’s work in people’s lives. This is meant to be a collaborative effort – a community website in fact and not just name!  Several of the articles have an option for adding a comment to dialog about the topic and share what God is teaching us.  If you would like to add an article, we are eager to hear from you.  You can send it to Phil Tiews at .  The Lord has poured so much into our lives over the years in The Word of God, we hope the website will provide a venue for sharing some of that with other brothers and sisters.  We also welcome suggestions for how to improve the site.

The new site was possible due to the massive effort of Matt Stauffer and Steve Lucchetti.  Lots of thanks to both these brothers.  If you would like to join the team to continue developing and maintaining the website, please contact us!

Community Life Nights are Back this Summer!

We had so much fun together last summer that we are bringing back the Community Life Nights! 


Mark your calendars now for the following dates: Saturday, July 17. 5:30—8:00 pm       @ Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1500 Scio Church, AA Saturday, July 31, 4—7 pm       @ Dawn Farm (see below for details)



 CommunityLifeNight02 Plans are just getting formed, but here are some of the things you can expect:      Great ‘organized pot-luck’ dinner      Activities for children of all ages and adults Workshops on things like:      Crafts                 Worship Signing      All your Technology questions answered      Irish Dancing        C. S. Lewis      Digital photography And more

CommunityLifeNight03If you have a recommendation for an activity or you would like to help with one of these, please let me know!

New this year – All-Community Service Night On July 31 we will be going to Dawn Farm and doing a variety of tasks to help their tremendous ministry.  There will be something for everyone from farming to cleaning to office work, whatever is needed.  And then we will close with a dinner at which some of the residents may join us.  Sounds like a great day!


More details will be coming soon, but make sure to set the dates aside now.  Hope to see you this summer!

The Word of God Calendar