Better Together

There are some things that are great on their own.  Peanut Butter for instance.  It’s amazing.  But then Mister Reese came a long and said, “you know what this could use?  A delicious coat of chocolate.” And with that the first recipient of the Nobel Peace prize was . . . what?  Oh I guess the Nobel committee has made a horrible oversight.  

Anyway.  

I spent much of this week at our Network’s annual conference.  It was great.  The best part about these kinds of gatherings is that it reminds me that I’m not doing ministry alone.  Creekside Church is not doing ministry alone.  We are connected with other people who are committed to the mission of the Gospel.  We want each other to succeed.  Talking with the different leaders that were gathered together it was so great to see that we truly are better together than alone. 

If you are a church leader and you don’t go to your network’s gatherings.  You need to fix that.  If you don’t have a netword that gathers together then start something with other churches in your community.  It is incredibly important that you not try to do this alone. 

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Messy Becomes Beautiful

I’ve been meeting with a group of guys over the past few months.  We’ve been reading the book Messy Spirituality by Mike Yacconelli.  This is the third or fourth time I’ve read the book.  It’s a small little book that reminds me that Jesus doesn’t desire perfection, he wants us.  He will do the work of cleaning us up, changing our hearts, and helping us to become freed from the sins that we struggle with. 

I’m being reminded that when we let Jesus and the Holy Spirit do their job, we can walk in peace in the midst of our messiness and the messiness of the people around us.  I’m not responsible to fix you and your issues.  That’s the Spirit’s job of transformation. 

At the same time I don’t celebrate my messiness.  I acknowledge my own sin, my own weakness and keep focusing on Jesus.  The more I focus on Jesus who I want to be like, the less I focus on my mess. The more I live like Jesus, the less inclined I am to stay in my mess. 

Jesus takes people in their messiness and makes us beautiful.  This song by Gungor reminds us of this.  If you have a few minutes listen to this song and ask Jesus to help make a beautiful thing out of your mess.

Tension

The past few weeks have been fairly tense in my world.  We’ve recently had to let one of our team members at Creekside go.  Not fun.  There are a lot of emotions around this whole event.  And I’m not really a big fan of emotions other than happy.  I’m like a dog that way.  Happy or sleeping are my too optimal modes.

The tension has been at work as we process what’s happened and what still needs to happen with who does what and how and for how long.  All that fun stuff.

The tension is at home as my wife and I who share a friendship with this team member and his family process what’s going on.

The tension is with this team member, mainly because I don’t know what to say.  (See previous comment about emotions).

I woke up this morning thinking about a song from the band Sixpence None The Richer.  The song is Tension Is A Passing Note.  If you want to listen to the song here it is:

Now I know this song is not earning me any masculinity points and I’m fine with that.  I wanted to share this because tension can serve as something that you get hung up on or it can be something that transitions into something much more beautiful.  This idea that tensions is a passing note comes from the idea of Suspended Chords.  The sound of these suspended chords can create dissonance because it’s something that we are not used to hearing.  Or it can create a tension that we wait to be resolved.  And when that tension is finally resolved it can give the listener a sense of aural relief.  Our ears are used to certain kinds of music and sounds.  And these tensions notes raise our awareness that something is different.

People are aware when there is tension in a room.  And if that tension is not addressed and resolved it can seriously damage relationships and organizations.  If we let the the tension in the chord go on to long people will turn the music off.  But if we let tension serve as the transition into relief then we learn to like the sound and we learn that tension is not forever and it can be resolved.

Who do you need to resolve tension with?  What steps do you need to take to bring forgiveness and grace?  This tensions doesn’t have to last forever.  It can become something that makes your relationship more beautiful.  Bring resolution.

Makes me think of this song as well.

HOPE

I’ve been reading Texts Under Negotiation: The Bible and Postmodern Imagination by Walter Brueggemann.  It’s a small book that has been really moving me.

This is something that he said about hope:

“Hope, the conviction that God will bring things to full, glorious completion, is no and explanation of anything.  Indeed, biblical hope most often has little suggestion about how to get from here to there.  It si rather an exultant, celebrative conviction that God will not quit until God has had God’s full way in the world.  On the one hand, such an affirmation is an antidote to our deep despair that most often can see no way out of our present vexation.  On the other hand, such an affirmation of hope is a warning about our self-sufficiency that imagines that in our own power we can have life on our own terms, no or in time to come.”

Wow.  God will have God’s way in the world!  That is where I place my trust.  It’s not just using wishful thinking to make a difference in the world.  It is the confidence that God is God and he will accomplish his purposes in the world.