Community

wherever two or more are gathered…


i continually wonder about the presence of God. He promises to never leave or forsake us, yet sometimes it seems like He is distant. i know the clichés like “if God seems far away, it’s you who has moved, not Him.” ugh, i hate clichés.

i realize that sin sometimes is a barrier for us. nothing is a barrier for Him. I can see how we put on our fig leaf and try to hide. i just wish sometimes i would hear Him say “where are you?” maybe i’m not listening. maybe life is too loud and it drowns out His voice. maybe the shame is so heavy that it dampens the calling. whatever it is, to be honest, sometimes i feel alone.

but my feelings will betray me. if i do the things i feel like doing, then i am not living in His will, i am dwelling in mine. i’ve found that my will, even with temporary moments of pleasure, does not bring long term peace or satisfaction.

i was reading this morning and came across a prayer. i love Paul’s prayers for the people in the new testament churches. this one was for the church at Ephesus.

Father, out of Your honorable and glorious riches, strengthen your people. Fill their souls with the power of Your Spirit so that through faith the Liberating King will reside in their hearts. My love be the rich soil where their lives take root. May it be the bedrock where their lives are founded so that together with all of Your people they will have the power to understand that the love of the Liberator is infinitely long, wide, high, and deep, surpassing everything anyone previously experienced. God, may Your fullness flood through their entire beings. Now to the God who can do so many awe-inspiring things, immeasurable things, things greater than we ever could ask or imagine through the power at work in us, to Him be all glory in the church and in Jesus, the Liberating King, from this generation to the next, forever and ever. Amen.  Ephesians 3:16-21 The Voice

he addresses the very thing i’m feeling, so i suppose the Ephesians struggled with the presence of Christ too. he talks about it taking root so that they and we would know that Christ’s love surpasses anything that we can understand. so maybe instead of seeking the presence which is already there, i should ask for the fullness. i should seek to be filled. i should request the power to understand.

also this prayer does not say i pray that this individual will see these things. it says they. we were not meant to grow outside of community. maybe sometimes the reason we don’t feel the presence of God is because even when we are around people, we isolate ourselves. He wants us to practice His presence in the midst of others. He wants us to see His power in the lives of others. we grow as a body. He promises to be wherever we gather.

do you struggle with believing that God can do those awe-inspiring, immeasurable things? well, then let’s get together and be for each other as He is for us. let us dream big and see what He can do. are you ready?

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just thought i’d post this


INVITATION-by Shel Silverstein

 

If you are a dreamer, come in.
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer . . .
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire,
For we have some flax golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!

that is the definition of community to me. it reminds me of my recreator friends who have gathered in Nashville and Austin the last few years to commune and diffuse great thoughts and ideas. to dream big dreams. they have been my brothers and sisters through great turmoil and minor victories.

i have fond memories of pizza, cigars and amazing beers

heartfelt discussions that often led to tears

singing loud to Gungor as we raised a sound

praying with Ian Cron as communion was found

life long brothers with Louis, Jim and JVo

creating amazing moments with Erik, David and Joe

so as recreate13 kicks off this year

i will miss you my tribe, live with no fear

 

so the invitation to create was afforded to me for a few years and i am truly thankful for the opportunity to be a part. thanks 

 

repost…i have a question for you…


about your church…  the one you attend…if you attend one…or if you don’t…

( i pulled these words and concepts from Chasing Francis by Morgan Ian Cron.  i added some of my own questions as well.)

is your church transcendent? do people encounter the one true living God there.  or are knowledge and theology the centerpieces of your faith?  are people simply reading about Him are they actually being changed by their encounters with The Word?

does your church value community? and i mean real authentic community, not a potluck every now and then or a monthly party .  do you carry each other’s burdens? bind up the broken hearted? have a genuine concern for one another? what does community look like in your church?

does your church value beauty? does it embrace those things that are beautiful even though they may be broken? does it value artists and art? do the people of your church trust the simple power of beauty to point people to God, rather than “Christian art” that’s consciously propagandistic?

does your church help value and help restore people’s dignity? is everyone welcome regardless of race, age, socio-economic status?  Jesus set the bar in this.  His whole life was about ministering to those who were despised and rejected by society.  by reaching out to them, He restored their humanity and gave them dignity.  is your church seeking to be like Jesus, or is it just a comfortable place that would get along just fine without Him showing up?  Making dignity important is much more than hospitality, it means fighting against the things that rob people of their dignity!

and finally, does your church have meaning?  people are meaning-seekers.  we want to be part of something larger than ourselves. “The significance–and ultimately the quality–of the work we do is determined by our understanding of the story in which we are taking part” Wendell Berry.  what is your church doing to help those who are hungry and searching to find meaning in their lives, to help them find their part in the story?

i wrote those down again to remind me of what i want church to look like.  how we flesh that out is up to us.

I have some questions…


about your church…  the one you attend…if you attend one…or if you don’t…

( i pulled these words and concepts from Chasing Francis by Morgan Ian Cron.  i added some of my own questions as well.)

is your church transcendent? do people encounter the one true living God there.  or are knowledge and theology the centerpieces of your faith?  are people simply reading about Him are they actually being changed by their encounters with The Word?

does your church value community? and i mean real authentic community, not a potluck every now and then or a monthly party .  do you carry each other’s burdens? bind up the broken hearted? have a genuine concern for one another? what does community look like in your church?

does your church value beauty? does it embrace those things that are beautiful even though they may be broken? does it value artists and art? do the people of your church trust the simple power of beauty to point people to God, rather than “Christian art” that’s consciously propagandistic?

does your church help value and help restore people’s dignity? is everyone welcome regardless of race, age, socio-economic status?  Jesus set the bar in this.  His whole life was about ministering to those who were despised and rejected by society.  by reaching out to them, He restored their humanity and gave them dignity.  is your church seeking to be like Jesus, or is it just a comfortable place that would get along just fine without Him showing up?  Making dignity important is much more than hospitality, it means fighting against the things that rob people of their dignity!

and finally, does your church have meaning? people are meaning-seekers.  we want to be part of something larger than ourselves. “The significance–and ultimately the quality–of the work we do is determined by our understanding of the story in which we are taking part” Wendell Berry.  what is your church doing to help those who are hungry and searching to find meaning in their lives, to help them find their part in the story?

in parting remember this…

“God is the one whose Center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.” Ian Cron