Viewing entries tagged
resurrection

A Conditional Guarantee

A Conditional Guarantee

The very nature of faith means there are no guarantees. We can believe God’s Word. We can trust in God’s redemption, celebrate mercy, and hope in prayer. But guarantees in this life are hard to come by…Except, trouble. Jesus said in John 16, “I have told you these things, so that in me YOU MAY have peace.  In this world YOU WILL have trouble.  But take heart, I have overcome the world.” That’s right, In Christ…you may/might/possibly/by chance experience peace. BUT, ‘in this world, you WILL have trouble’. Honestly, I didn’t need Scripture to tell me something I already know. 

Here’s the beauty: If trouble is guaranteed…and peace is available, then is serves to reason God is already present in the midst of this world’s struggle.

Heaven is not simply a place we go when we die. Rather, Jesus said that heaven is here and now. Eternity has already begun. It’s like we live in a field of wheat but there are also weeds all around us. And, as the Parable goes, Jesus was adamant the field NOT be uprooted for fear of losing the good.

When we talk about heaven on earth, we’re talking about, sometimes small, ways of restoring the world as God intended through ordinary but attentive ways. When we celebrate the resurrection at Easter, we embrace the promise of “do over’s” and the chance to begin again…and again. What we find is that attempts to bring light, encouragement, support, relief, and help is Just. Not. Easy. Nor convenient. Nor comfortable. And often uninspired and unrecognized. Yet, God is in the Hard and the Good, which means we can experience peace in the midst of this world’s trouble. So, sow seeds! This is how Jesus described the kingdom of heaven.

Over the last two weeks, we’ve distributed $500 worth of HEB gift cards and $1000 worth of $50 envelopes. On one level, we want to experiment with compassion and generosity by finding opportunities to encourage others. However, this is also a chance to practice Renewal by yielding to the Spirit’s prompts and turning toward opportunity. Can’t wait to hear your stories of new life! Welcome to the resurrection! This is Church. 

Life in Light of the Resurrection.

Life in Light of the Resurrection.

How do we live in light of the resurrection? How ‘bout bringing a lil’ life to another? Our grand total from the New Normal Lent savings is $1516.00! Well done!

Here comes the fun part where we attempt to offer encouragement and support to those around us.

Pray. Ask neighbors. Talk with friends. Pray some more. Listen for ways YOU can help, bring hope, encourage, and support people around you. Is there a family at your kids' school? Is there an immigrant we can sponsor at the community college? Who needs medicine? A single mom need car repair? A foster family could use a season pass to something fun? House cleaning? Do we go buy a bunch of school supplies for the fall? 

On Easter, we passed out $500 worth of HEB gift cards in hopes of seeing an opportunity, learning a name, and hearing story. We ALL wanna hear that story!  Seriously, WE NEED YOUR HELP! I want all of us to celebrate the resurrection in the most tangible ways possible!! We have AT LEAST $1000 to invest and bring Light to darkness. So, please, share your ideas and opportunities within the next 2 weeks!

Thank you for being part of the this beautiful experiment in faith, community, and mission!  Heaven on Earth…it’s what we live for!!

A New Normal: A human(e) Response to the Resurrection.

Now that Easter’s been properly celebrated, what does the promise of new life mean for our daily lives? Easter reminded us that we can begin again. Being spiritually "born again" isn’t supposed to happen once, but regularly and often. It’s a continual process of renewal.  II Corinthians 4:16 in The Message says, “So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace."

Our world is so full of needs, injustice, and abuse that it appears as if our only hope is to survive. Certainly, not thrive. Honestly, it’s hard to let ourselves be too affected by the plight of others YET – at the same time – we’re mindful of God’s unfolding grace in our own lives. Because of the resurrection, new life is promised but it's not automatic either. 

We often look around at our lives and this world wondering, “where’s God…?” or “how could he let that happen?”  We feel like God should be more active.  But, I'm suspicious that a large part of what we feel about injustice, greed, scarcity, abuse, wealth, accomplishment is supposed to help us see what God sees?  I think our emotions are supposed to help us experience something, something that God already sees and wants to remedy.  Perhaps what we see and feel is God’s invitation is to be a part of a solution.

So, what if — as a part of God’s plan for us — is to use the need and brokenness in this world to keep us spiritually alive? 

New life means re-sensitizing our hearts. With a little effort and encouragement, I want to suggest a “faith experiment” to help us see needs, opportunities, and our own resources differently. It's a chance to recondition our hearts.

For most of us, in order to experience New Life we need to create a New Normal? What if we experiment with small sacrificial acts and gestures of compassion believing that God can use us AND wants to give us New Life? 

Over the next month, we’re going to explore the Rhythm of Compassion. And we’ll do it together so we’re not alone in our effort. The idea is simple: One week where each of us sees what we can do without — We trade Starbucks for office brew. We plan a menu and forgo the Drive-thru. We pack a lunch in lieu of eating out. We pass on going to the movies and rent at home. There’s lots of normal activities we choose to bypass for a week. And, with the money saved, we pool it together. The money saved then becomes a way for us to practice compassion – meeting simple needs as they arise in your neighborhood, at the gas pump, the grocery store, at your kids school, downtown, in the park, or on the news. We’re not trying to solve any one issue. We’re simply trying to be part of God’s response AND allow our hearts to be re-sensitized as part of our everyday lives. That feels like the makings of a New Normal.