Monday, January 31, 2011

sending +

We're a sending community, so it's normal for us to develop people and then let 'em go to make their mark on the world. That's what we do. But something a little different has been happening the last few months and it's pretty cool.

Last night Colin--one of the guys in our community--invited a couple of his friends to join us for our common meal and worship time. We get lots of guests on Sunday nights so that wasn't unusual. Nor was it unusual that his friends were on their way to Malawi for the next couple of years. Okay, not all our guests are on their way to Africa, but it does seem like more and more of the people who visit our community are wrapping up one chapter of their lives and are in-route somewhere.

Now here's the cool part. We get to bless them and send them even when we've just met them. It's not planned or choreographed. We just do it. It's who we are. And we seem to be doing a lot of it lately. Last night we prayed for Ryan and Michelle and sent them off to Africa with God's blessing. Last month we sent Danny off to London. It's almost like God is using our little community to be part of the sending process with people who have not even travelled with us. And if it helps them thrive and be good news wherever they are going, we'll gladly keep on doing it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

our covenant

This weekend we're taking off to Rosarito Beach on the Baja for our annual covenanting retreat. It's a time for each person in our community to recommit to the shared life that defines us and guides us. It's big. It's hard. It's radical. And it's not for everyone. But it also inspires us to live all-in missional lives:

We believe that we were created to be worshippers and lovers of God.

As such, we will make the Triune God the center of our lives by collectively and individually committing to live as disciples of Christ.

This includes cultivating an attitude of thankfulness, a lifestyle of prayer and worship, a deep and responsive engagement with scripture, a reliance on the provision and guidance of the Holy Spirit, exploring and practicing a diversity of spiritual disciplines, discovering God’s goodness and beauty in his created world, and the intentional participation in the gift of Sabbath.

We believe that the Gospel is best experienced and expressed within a community of believers.

Because of this, we will open our lives to be shaped by the community in which God has placed us.

Our journey together will include living in the same neighborhood, opening our lives and homes as places of invitation and hospitality, gathering at least once a week over a common meal, caring for and submitting to one another, speaking well of one another and defending each other’s name, sharing stories and reflecting on God’s work of love in our midst, living more simply and sharing our resources with those in need, and gathering together weekly to grow and learn.

We believe that God calls all followers of Christ to live a life of mission.

In obedience to this, we will seek to incarnate the good news of the kingdom and to become a reconciling and redemptive presence.

This life of mission will include “submerging” in our own unique neighborhood, living as the light of God’s grace in places of darkness, inviting neighbors and friends to experience a different kind of faith community, becoming true caretakers of God’s creation, creating spaces and moments for our neighbors to experience both community and communion with God, discipling our neighbors into deeper relationship with Jesus, mentoring local leaders to grow in influence, joining with strategic partners within our city to advance the kingdom, and apprenticing young leaders to live out all of these things with us and wherever God sends them.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

another reason to be here

In the past week 2 men have been murdered in our neighborhood and another man was stabbed 9 times last night and survived. Both of these horrific incidents happened within a few hundred yards of our house. We hear the sirens. We watch the police cruisers shoot by.

Our culture's natural impulse at the news of events like these is to play it safe and distance yourself from evil. But Christ's impulse was to step into the face of evil and enflesh shalom...a deep and abiding sense of peace.

Our prayer--our community's prayer--is to have sufficient courage to be peacemakers in the midst of needless violence rather than retreating from it. To enflesh shalom in a neighborhood that truly needs it right now.